Innovative Diabetes Prevention mHealth Program on Course to Transform Lives
Bangalore, 20 March 2013. Arogya World and Nokia India today reported that they have enrolled one million people into mDiabetes, the groundbreaking diabetes prevention mHealth initiative in India. As part of mDiabetes, an ongoing Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment and one of the first and largest programs of its kind in the world, alerts have been sent in 12 regional languages, informing Nokia mobile phone users in India about diabetes and its prevention with lifestyle changes. It is also estimated that more than 70,000 consumers have completed the six-month program, having received free-of-charge mDiabetes alerts twice a week.
mDiabetes runs on the Nokia Life platform, which delivers life-enhancing information and advice co-developed with more than 90 knowledge partners, and works on a wide range of Nokia mobile phones. To-date, Nokia Life services covering topics such as health, education and agriculture have been experienced by more than 95 million people across India, China, Indonesia and Nigeria. The mDiabetes program in India started in January 2012. People enrolled for this service span residents of rural and urban India.
“mDiabetes is of special significance in India, a country with an enormous diabetes burden. We are encouraged by the positive consumer feedback we have received for our alerts to date. If effective, mDiabetes will add to the evidence base for mHealth and become the cornerstone of a chronic disease prevention model for the developing world. We are pleased with the progress we have made and are well on our way to honoring our CGI Commitment,” said Dr Sandhya Ramalingam, Head, Program Evaluation, Arogya World.
Commenting on the development, B.V. Natesh, Director – Emerging Market Services at Nokia said, “Nokia Life was designed to address livelihood and life improvement needs of consumers in emerging markets such as India. Since launch, the service has been experienced by more than 50 million people across India. With the rapid growth of mobile penetration, campaigns such as mDiabetes have the potential to reach millions of people, helping build awareness and associated behavior change.”
Karthik, a 29 year old working professional from Tamilnadu in South India, uses a Nokia Asha 311 with Nokia Life. He enrolled in the mDiabetes program because his father has had diabetes for the last 3 years. “Earlier my father did not go for his walk regularly and was not careful about his diet and weight. I now make him go for a walk everyday, have added more healthy food items to his diet and made him aware of the problems of diabetes. This program helped me gain a better understanding of diabetes, which I use to help my father have a better life.”
Positive reactions have been obtained from other consumers as well. In 2012, Arogya World asked 750 consumers what they thought of individual mDiabetes alerts. The results obtained were promising – 70% of the consumers said they remembered receiving the alerts, of which more than 90% said the alerts were clear and easy to understand, and importantly, more than 80% were willing to share the alerts with friends and family.
Effectiveness evaluation of the mDiabetes program is in progress.
About mDiabetes: mDiabetes is Arogya World’s flagship program. On 20 September 2011, at the CGI Annual Meeting, Arogya World committed (http://www.arogyaworld.org/media/press-release-announcement/arogya-world-launches-new-diabetes-prevention-mhealth-program-in-india-with-nokia-life-tools-2/) to providing alerts on diabetes and its prevention in 12 languages to 1 million Indian consumers, and to measuring program effectiveness. The non-profit was joined in this two-year Commitment by multiple partners: Nokia, Emory University (Rollins School of Public Health), Aetna, Johnson & Johnson (Lifescan Inc.), Biocon and Ipsos (formerly Synovate).
Noteworthy program accomplishments include i. developing 56 text message alerts with Rollins School of Public Health of Emory University with emphasis on science and behavior change theory, ii. getting them reviewed for technical accuracy and cultural relevancy by Arogya World’s Behavior Change Task Force, made up of medical, health promotion and consumer communications experts iii. consumer testing of alerts, both before and after transmission iv. refining mDiabetes content based on consumer feedback v. finalizing Effectiveness Evaluation research design, with the input of academic experts from around the world vi. getting ethics approval for the research plans from an independent expert committee in India vii. completing the Pre-phase of Effectiveness Evaluation and viii. establishing a thriving public private partnership in which each partner has a unique role but all are driven by a common purpose – using technology to improve health outcomes.
Background: At the core of this program is the compelling clinical proof that diabetes and other NCDs, non-communicable diseases, can be prevented with lifestyle changes. According to the WHO, 80% heart disease, 80% diabetes and 40% cancers can be prevented by avoiding tobacco, eating healthy foods, and increasing physical activity.
India’s diabetes burden is alarming. See http://www.arogyaworld.org/our-work-in-india/.
About Arogya World
Arogya World (www.arogyaworld.org) is a US based non-profit changing the course of chronic disease, one community at a time. In India, the organization implements programs for preventing diabetes through lifestyle changes in schools, workplaces and the community. To further advance the organization’s work, it has set up a Trust in India.
mDiabetes is a registered trademark of Arogya World.
Nokia is a global leader in mobile communications whose products have become an integral part of the lives of people around the world. Every day, more than 1.3 billion people use their Nokia to capture and share experiences, access information, find their way or simply to speak to one another. Nokia’s technological and design innovations have made its brand one of the most recognized in the world. For more information, visit http://www.nokia.com/about-nokia.
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