Billions of dollars meant for the delivery of public health services are being lost to corruption, theft and fraud every year in some low and middle income countries. Our latest paper in the Journal of Global Health analyses the ways in which mobiles, the Internet and other digital innovations are being used to combat these problems. This includes automating processes to avoid theft; capturing, verifying and visualizing data for greater transparency, and enabling citizens to report bribery or discrimination to improve accountability, amongst other examples. In undertaking this review and expert consultation, we came across both ‘designed’ innovation projects, and solutions that emerged from the grass roots, showing how lessons can be learned from both. We also note that technology can't do this alone and smart human, organizational and policy solutions are also needed in order to catalyze improvements.
Other reviews have explored the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) for strengthening governance in the context of global development, but we believe this is the first to have focused specifically on the health sector. We hope it provides useful insights for global health, development and policy practitioners on how ICT may help to get resources to those for whom they were intended, by combatting unethical practices. Harnessing electronic information and strengthening institutional governance are key themes of the UN SDGs and these socio-technical approaches offer creative solutions for sustainable healthcare and deserve further attention.
Read more: Holeman I, Cookson T, Pagliari C (2016). Digital Technology for Health Sector Governance in Low and Middle Income Countries: a Scoping Review. Journal of Global Health Vol 6, No 2. Published Online First Sep 7th