Mobile Health Interventions in Cameroon: A Review of their Effect on Women’s Health Outcomes
Author(s): Frankline Sevidzem Wirsiy, Denis Ebot Ako-Arrey, Patrick Achiangia Njukeng
Background and aim: The health systems of Cameroon are still facing considerable challenges in achieving better women’s health outcomes among its diverse population. mHealth (Mobile technologies application in health care) represent a feasible approach to aid the alleviation of some of Cameroon’s disease burden and generate improvements in women’s health care outcomes. Although some studies have shown the potentials of mHealth in Cameroon, there is a huge gap of data establishing clear outcomes of mHealth interventions in Cameroon. This review was carried out to evaluate the evidence on the empirical impact of mHealth interventions on women’s health outcomes in Cameroon.
Methods: A search on PubMed, ScienceDirect, Cochrane Library, African Journals Online, MEDLINE, Scopus and Google Scholar with the following Keywords: “mobile health”, “Mobile phone”, “health care”, “interventions”, “Cameroon”, “Women’s Health Outcomes” was conducted, with the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH), on empirical studies relating to mHealth interventions on health outcomes in Cameroon. Our search was limited to, articles published from the year 2009 to 2019 (A 10 year review) in English and French. The search identified a total of 111 articles amongst which only 5 original articles met the inclusion criteria.
Results: This review revealed that, using SMS text messages and mobile phones (mHealth interventions) in Cameroon had been targeted at eliciting behavioral actions as well as improving treatment adherence in women patients/individuals. However, while mHealth augurs the potential to improve women’s health outcomes and probably transform the Cameroon health systems, there was insufficient evidence to assert the effect of the mHealth interventions on improved women’s health outcomes.
Conclusion: This review showed that despite the opportunity presented by rapidly expanding mobile technologies in Cameroon, evidence of their impact in improving women’s health outcomes and revolutionizing healthcare solutions is limited. Thus, there is a need for more intervention studies to ascertain the effect of mHealth interventions on women’s health outcomes and health care delivery processes in Cameroon and the Central African region at large.