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Introduction: Real Time Monitoring for the Most Vulnerable – Investing in Common Guidance for Equity and Quality

Future Health Systems

Greeley, M., H. Lucas, J. Chai, and M. Cummins (2013) 'Introduction: Real Time Monitoring for the Most Vulnerable – Investing in Common Guidance for Equity and Quality'. IDS Bulletin 44(2)


Growth in the use of real-time digital information for monitoring has been rapid in developing countries across all the social sectors, and in the health sector has been remarkable. Commonly these Real Time Monitoring (RTM) initiatives involve partnerships between the state, civil society, donors and the private sector. There are differences between partners in understanding objectives, and further divergence often occurs due to adoption of specific technology-driven approaches and because profit-making is a part of the equation for some partners. With the swarming, especially of pilot mHealth initiatives, in many countries there is risk of chaotic disconnects, of confrontation between rights and profits, and of overall failure to encourage appropriate alliances to build sustainable and effective national RTM systems. What is needed is a country-led process for strengthening the quality and equity sensitivity of real-time monitoring initiatives. This article proposes the development of an effective learning and action agenda centred on the adoption of common guidance.