Next week, NetHope Global Healthcare Program Director Kelly Keisling will share a special blog series on mHealth and mobile money, two rapidly expanding fields that have recently attracted common interest and discussion. The series begins Monday, discussing “What mHealth offers mobile money”.
Each of the fields has grown largely independent of the other; however, a shared value proposition has the potential to combine the financial rationale of mobile money with the health impact of mHealth. Linkages between the two could combine the strengths and offset the weaknesses of each. Mobile money provides financial efficiency and sustainable business cases, while mHealth offers health impact and innovative use cases. Shared designs and business models could increase the innovation, impact and sustainability of both fields.
The crossover topic has received renewed interest over the past few months. In April, USAID efforts to encourage its partners to use e-payments were discussed in a webinar on New Trends in USAID Procurement: e-Payments and Mobile Money. In May, a webinar on Demystifying Mobile Payments to consider the particular opportunities and lessons for health programs featured presentations by USAID, Pathfinder and the NetHope Payment Innovations team. The intersection of mobile money and mHealth was also discussed at mHealth Working Group's May meeting hosted by Pam Riley of Abt Associates, with presentations by mPay Connect, USAID Mobile Solutions Team, D-Tree, Marie Stopes International and NetHope. Abt and partner Results for Development are part of the mobile money team for the USAID global Health Finance and Governance (HFG) project, an initiative seeking to promote the use of mobile money to strengthen health systems through the identification of partners and use cases to drive the integration of mobile money in health, support for country strategies, and the dissemination of best practices and evidence.
Drawing on these discussions addresses a common question: what do mobile money and mHealth offer each other? Next week's special series will explore this question in three segments. Monday, we’ll cover what mHealth offers mobile money. Tuesday, we’ll consider the inverse and discuss what mobile money offers mHealth. We’ll wrap up midweek with a final segment on the shared challenges, linkages and learning opportunities between the two fields and a full-length download of the three-part series.
We encourage you to join the conversation on Monday and share any feedback and insights.