Mobile Health (mHealth) in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Annu Rev Public Health. 2022 Apr 5:43:525-539. doi: 10.1146/annurev-publhealth-052620-093850. Epub 2021 Oct 14.


This article reflects on current trends and proposes new considerations for the future of mobile technologies for health (mHealth). Our focus is predominantly on the value of and concerns with regard to the application of digital health within low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). It is in LMICs and marginalized communities that mHealth (within the wider scope of digital health) could be most useful and valuable. Peer-reviewed literature on mHealth in LMICs provides reassurance of this potential, often reflecting on the ubiquity of mobile phones and ever-increasing connectivity globally, reaching remote or otherwise disengaged populations. Efforts to adapt successful programs for LMIC contexts and populations are only just starting to reap rewards. Private-sector investment in mHealth offers value through enhanced capacity and advances in technology as well as the ability to meet increasing consumer demand for real-time, accessible, convenient, and choice-driven health care options. We examine some of the potential considerations associated with a private-sector investment, questioning whether a core of transparency, local ownership, equity, and safety is likely to be upheld in the current environment of health entrepreneurship.

Keywords: LMICs; governance; health services; low- and middle-income countries; mHealth; mobile; private sector.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Phone*
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Developing Countries
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Telemedicine*