Roch Nianogo
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Student: Roch Nianogo
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My field studies, this summer took place in Dakar, Senegal (West Africa) at an organization called Réseau Africain de l’Education pour la Santé-RAES (or African Network for Health Education) during a 10-week period from June 15th to August 24th 1012. RAES is a non-governmental organization (NGO) whose mission is to strengthen health, education and citizenship programs in Africa through the medium of information and communications technology (ICT).

My main responsibility was to conduct a research study aiming at mapping and evaluating the use of mobile technologies in health promotion and disease prevention programs (i.e. mHealth) in French-speaking countries in Africa, member of the International Organization of La Francophonie (e.g. Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin, Cameroon, Cote d’ivoire). We recruited and surveyed a number of mHealth initiatives within this region in order to assess their features as well as their monitoring and evaluation capacity.

Within RAES, this research was part of the organization latest project called “Djobi” whose aim is to reduce maternal and child health using mobile technologies through local community health insurance systems (or “Mutuelles de Santé). More generally this research aimed at responding to a global need for better understanding and scaling up health promotion programs using ICT as there is a lack of evidence-based knowledge and practice on the effectiveness and sustainability of mHealth initiatives.

Along the way we were able to partner with the World Health Organization (WHO) to conduct the research and recruited approximately 30 mHealth initiatives throughout the six countries. We then implemented this regional survey electronically and are currently in the data collection and analysis phase of the study.

In sum, this study on one hand will inform countries, stakeholders and researchers on evidence-based best practices to be replicated and scaled up and on the other hand help avoid wasteful duplication of ineffective initiatives.

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