A mobile-phone based Electronic Health Information and Surveillance System for Africa: concept and pilot study

In resource-poor settings mobile phones can be used to disseminate life-saving health information. Via such electronic health information systems (eHealth) even illiterate individuals or people living in remote areas can obtain valuable information on the prevention or treatment of acute diseases. However, most eHealth approaches are unidirectional and available to health-care workers only. An alternative approach is being conceptualized and developed in this project. Here a mobile phone-based “Electronic Health Information and Surveillance System” (eHISS) is being established and piloted in Ghana. Diseased individuals have the possibility to call a project hotline linked to an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. After sequential questions on disease symptoms have been answered, tailored health information is provided. Additionally, the place, time and type of these requests is recorded and processed to display real-time spatio-temporal disease patterns using digital maps. This approach enables automated real-time syndrome surveillance and early identification of potential disease outbreaks. The complex nature of eHISS is represented in the multi-disciplinary project consortium, involving epidemiology, health geography, clinical research, public health and eHealth techniques.


Partner country Ghana
Institutions Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research (KCCR)
  Ghana School of Public Health (GSPH)
Partner country Germany
Institutions The University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE)
Partner country Netherlands
Institutions National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM)

Funding Period 2013-2015
Funding Body German Federal Ministry of Research and Education (BMBF)

Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology

Porträtfoto von Prof. Dr. Jürgen May, eines erfahrenen freundlich blickenden Forschers
Head of Dept Infectious Diseases Epidemiology

Prof. Dr. Jürgen May

Telefon: +49 40 285380-402


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