Mobile devices are now supporting the practice of medicine and public health in exciting ways. A subset of a larger category known as e-health, which covers all services that involve the electronic transfer of health resources, mHealth has caught the attention of development and business communities alike — a fact reflected in the partnerships that have emerged in the field.
But like any fledgling sector, mHealth has been experiencing some growing pains. A 2014 report on the use of mHealth in West Africa, commissioned as part of the Strengthening Health Outcomes through the Private Sector initiative, detailed several important gaps. For instance, mHealth systems are typically English-based which has obstructed adoption in the largely French speaking West Africa region. Other financial and operational hurdles not unique to the region include: the absence of sustainable models, a small body of evidence on cost effectiveness, a limited capacity to scale up services, a lack of country ownership, and weak signal coverage.