Guest Blog: Sudan mHealth

Guest blog by: Shaimaa Elsaid, Majdi Sabahelzain
School of Health Sciences of Ahfad University for Women (AUW)

sudan7During April 2016, the Sudanese mHealth initiative was founded in the School of Health Sciences of Ahfad University for Women (AUW) in the country of Sudan. The members include Dr. Majdi Sabahelzain and students Esra, Fatima, Rahel, Randa and Shaimaa. It was introduced as a way to raise awareness about mobile health to Ahfad’s students and nearby health entities, and to promote the use of mobile data collection applications. The initiative started off by participating within Ahfad’s Health Fair Day which took place on the 19th of April. The goal was to gather information about how well people knew of mHealth by filling out a questionnaire made on the Magpi application, and to fill in the gaps of their knowledge regarding what mHealth entails and how to use it, whether through mobile applications or SMS messages.

By the end of the event, 18 persons answered a 6 question form designed using Magpi. The questions were analyzed using Magpi’s built-in analysis tools and the results included that the majority of respondents (72%) hadn’t heard of the word mHealth. Those who have heard about mHealth were asked about their current use of mHealth services. Most of them (61%) indicated that they were not using any, either for “no particular reason” or because they perceived mHealth applications to be expensive (although most respondents had smart phones.

Very interestingly, when asked the best way to receive health information, most respondents indicated SMS and social media, followed by apps.

We didn’t anticipate that many people haven’t recently used a mHealth service simply because they did not know that they exist. The people we spoke to were  mainly young students, teachers, and even professors; most of whom didn’t know that you could fill out questionnaires and do surveys on smartphones. However, there was one teacher who knew about the Magpi application.

Although most of the people we spoke to were women, the majority of them didn’t know how helpful mHealth could be in regards to their reproductive health, safety and knowledge.

After the initial survey using Magpi, we showed them what Magpi is and how they could use it themselves: how to sign up on the website and where to find the application, and we especially showed its importance to students because of their upcoming graduation research project.

Although not many people knew about the mHealth applications, the most heard of application was the S Health app [by Samsung] that is available for Android mobile users. One particular person said that they used the S Health app as way to help cope with his diabetes disease.


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