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25 Jul, 2014

New Partners Sign Up for Int’l Telecoms Union Be He@lthy, Be Mobile initiative

Geneva, 23 July 2014 – The International Telecommunication Union today announces that global healthcare company GSK and Public Health England (PHE) will join Be He@lthy, Be Mobile, an initiative which it leads in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO).

The new partnership and the continued evolution of digital health around the world are being discussed at the business events of the 2014 Commonwealth Games programme taking place in Glasgow, Scotland from 23 July to 2 August. Be He@lthy Be Mobile partners already include BUPA, Verizon and the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA), the African Development Bank and The NCD Alliance.

“Non-communicable diseases are the single greatest factor contributing to mortality and the overall disease burden in developed countries and emerging economies alike,” said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré welcoming the partnership. “Where m-Health is concerned, ITU works with WHO to share our long-standing experience and our competence in mobile technologies and healthcare as well as our network of partners. We look forward to harness the potential of these new partnerships with GSK and Public Health England to help accelerate the adoption of mobile health interventions worldwide.”

Ramil Burden, Vice-President Developing Countries, GSK, said: “Mobile technology is playing an ever increasing part in helping communities across the globe access health information and services. We are exploring a number of ways to harness this potential and are pleased to support Be He@lthy, Be Mobile. It is an exciting opportunity to collaborate with a range of partners to help initiate and scale up innovative programmes that support health workers and patients alike.”

Launched in October 2012, the “Be He@lthy, Be Mobile” initiative looks at developing best practices and bringing them to scale and is planned to run for four years initially.

In its first phase, the initiative is focusing on deploying mobile health interventions in areas such as diabetes, smoking cessation, hypertension, cancers, wellness as well as training of health workers. More than 35 countries have already expressed interest in participating. A national smoking cessation programme via mobile phones is currently underway in Costa Rica reaching out to the entire population and in June 2014 Senegal released a national m-Ramadan campaign to help diabetics manage their diabetes during Ramadan. Zambia is also planning to launch a national mobile cervical cancer programme.

Professor Kevin Fenton, National Director of Health and Wellbeing at PHE, an executive agency of the Department of Health, stressed: “At Public Health England, we have already seen the transformation brought about by mobile and digital health programmes. I’m excited that the ‘Be He@lthy, Be Mobile’ initiative has managed to bring together so many key partners. We look forward to working together to support this progressive area within public health.”