A Post-development Perspective on mHealth - An Implementation Initiative in Malawi
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Original versionProceedings of the Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences. 2013, 4217-4225. 10.1109/HICSS.2013.53
While the sheer number of mHealth implementations around the world have been increasing dramatically, authoritative voices on global health have tried to put the focus on quantifiable evaluations and comparisons of these projects (e.g. health outcomes, cost savings, efficiency) in order to channel donor funds and investments into proven and scalable solutions. Drawing on empirical data from an mHealth implementation in Malawi we argue that quantitative evaluation of health interventions often assumes a top-down and limited view on the developmental impact of mHealth. Through our action-research involvement with facility-based reporting of routine health data through mobile phones, we conclude that developmental impacts of mHealth are local and each locale experience a different developmental impact depending on the context of use and available resources. The paper contrasts global concerns for quantifiable development with local priorities with respect to mHealth projects and information system (IS) interventions in health more broadly.