Table 3

Illustrative examples of the potential contribution of access to essential health information to achieving sustainable development goal (SDG3) health targets

SDG3 health targetIllustration of potential contribution of access to essential health information to achieving this target and/or to the indicators of progress on UHC (SDG3.8.1) associated with it
3.2 By 2030, end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age, with all countries aiming to reduce neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1000 live births and under-5 mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1000 live births.
(This area is already the subject of a recent WHO recommendation on using mobiles for targeted communication; see text)
Control trial studies38 39 of use by healthcare workers of a safe delivery information smartphone app in Ethiopia and of mobile phone text messaging for pregnant women in Zanzibar indicated associated reductions in perinatal infant mortality from 23 to 14 and from 36 to 19 per 1000, respectively.
A cluster randomised trial40 of a child health radio campaign in Burkina Faso showed increases of consultations for pneumonia of 39% and for diarrhoea by 73% and lives saved modelling with LiST indicated an average reduction in under-5 mortality of 7% per year.
3.3 By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases.A Cochrane review41 of randomised control trials on use of text messaging for adherence to antiretroviral therapy in patients in Kenya with HIV infection showed treatment adherence rates and viral load suppression rates both improved, from a baseline of about 50% in the control to 60% in the messaging group.
A systematic review42 of mobile phone apps related to HIV in Africa found numerous examples of improved adherence to medication and attendance to scheduled appointments through SMS and voice calls.
A control study43 of text messaging malaria treatment guidelines to health workers in in Kenya showed an improvement in correct case management from a 20% baseline to 51% (about 45% after control group correction)
3.4 By 2030, reduce by one-third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-beingA systematic review44 of nine articles addressing the impact of m-health (mostly SMS texting or interactive phone applications) on outcomes of chronic diseases in LMICs found it to be cost effective and to have modest but positive impacts on processes of care, clinical outcomes and health-related quality of life.
3.5 Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol. 3.a Strengthen the implementation of WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in all countries, as appropriate.Results from independent evaluations45 of WHO and International Telecommunication Union‘s Be He@lthy, Be Mobile programs show a 19% quit rate among a large sample of participants in the mTobaccoCessation project, drawn from the 2.1 million people in India receiving SMS messaging on tobacco cessation. Such services appear 2–3 times as effective as traditional cessation services alone.
3.6 By 2020, halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents.It has been estimated that some 40% of road traffic accident deaths could be prevented by immediate road-side first aid46 yet public knowledge of appropriate first aid is very low in almost every country. Education in first aid has been shown47 to increase such knowledge considerably, for example, by a factor of 3. (Practical first aid information is now available to people in many countries, in their own language, via the Red Cross/Red Crescent First Aid mobile app but penetration and use appear to be minimal.)
3.7 By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive healthcare services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes.
(This area is already the subject of a recent WHO recommendation on using mobiles for targeted communication; see text)
A randomised control trial48 of an educational campaign for pregnant women on healthy timing and spacing of pregnancy carried out by community workers using simple communication materials (leaflets, posters, wall paintings and booklets), found use of effective contraception methods increased from 30% in the control group to 57% in the intervention group.
A control trial49 on use of infographics for educating women in Iran about different forms of contraception showed their knowledge of the relative effectiveness of different contraceptive methods increased from a baseline of 50%–80% or above.
A randomised control trial50 in Kenya of text messaging about postpartum family planning showed use of highly effective contraceptive methods increased from 57% in the control group to 70% in the intervention group.
  • UHC, universal health coverage.