Prof. Aletta Elisabeth Schutte
Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of New South Wales; The George Institute for Global Health, Sydney, Australia.
Special Issue Introduction
With low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) carrying over 70% of the global burden of hypertension, it is essential to look to new technologies and how these can be implemented to shift the dial. Low resource settings are often very different from the environments in high-income countries and the associated challenges are mostly underappreciated. For example, where guidelines propose to improve physical activity to reduce blood pressure, factors such as air pollution, high density traffic, a fear of violence and crime as well a limited green space cause significant discouragement to be active outside. Notwithstanding these and other direct health-system related challenges, we know there are encouraging developments in mHealth and telehealth being applied to LMICs with great success – whether improving medication adherence through text messages or providing context-based guidance on reducing foods high in salt or sugar, or to provide direct access to healthcare providers by reaching remote or otherwise disengaged populations. Mobile phone penetration in resource-limited settings has occurred rapidly and has been a surprising success story. It is anticipated that by 2025, there will be 5.6 billion mobile connections in the hands of more than two-thirds of the global population. In some low-income countries, mobile connections are more reliably accessible than either electricity or clean water. But the potential of mHealth and telehealth to improve healthcare has not been fully used to good advantage. In this special series in Connected Health some perspectives from local researchers living and working in LMICs are highlighted.
1. Albertino Damasceno, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Maputo, Mozambique.
2. Buna Bhandari, Institute of Medicine, Tribhuvan University, Nepal.
3. Lisa J. Ware, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa.
4. Lebo Francina Gafane-Matemane, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa.
30 Jun 2023