This report by the International Telecommunication Union provides practical information on the variety of information and communication technology (ICT) solutions available that could help support countries in improving information and accountability for maternal and child health, as advocated by the Commission on Information and Accountability (CoIA). The report firstly provides an overview of the status of different ICT services available in CoIA focus countries before presenting examples of the role that ICTs can have in implementing CoIA’s 10 recommendations. The report also highlights key governance, policy, and human resources considerations for the successful implementation of ICT projects at national scale.
The Evidence for Action programme has developed a structured literature review of how information communication technology (ICT)/mobile technology have been used in low and middle income countries for monitoring and improving the quality of maternal and newborn healthcare in general, as well as in the context of vital event registration and/or maternal death reviews.
The review identified a total of 24 projects covering four thematic areas:
- data management including collection, transmission, and analysis of information
- point of care support by assisting decision-making and diagnosis
- training and disseminating knowledge to healthcare workers (e.g. latest research and guidelines)
- improving communication and networking between healthcare workers and health facilities, patients or other healthcare workers
The review found that these technologies could have greater potential in improving and monitoring quality of maternal and newborn care if the following factors are considered:
- ensuring the deployment of technology that can be installed and maintained locally
- deploying devices and infrastructure that is low cost and can be integrated within the health system
- ensure the buy-in and commitment of key stakeholders
The paper concludes that the future of ICT to contributing to quality of care improvements is promising; however it must be complemented by other inputs such as adequate infrastructure and human resources to maximize its potential.