Introduction: Mobile health (mHealth) apps are promising tools for capacity building and
surveillance in Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). It is unclear how to effectively
disseminate mHealth apps for their implementation in areas endemic to NTDs. The World
Health Organization (WHO) is supporting the development of the WHO SkinNTDs app to help
frontline healthcare workers (FHW) to learn about Skin NTDs definitions, diagnosis, and case
management. Our aim is to develop a marketing plan that will ensure effective adoption of
the WHO SkinNTDs app and encourage its use in routine practice.
Methods: We did a systematic review that revealed that mHealth apps can be disseminated
via paid and unpaid marketing strategies using various communication channels. The effects
of these strategies are reflected in download numbers and user engagement with mHealth
apps. These results inspired our draft of marketing plan to promote the WHO SkinNTDs app.
Preparation of this marketing plan consisted in clarifying the use cases and functionalities
provided by the app, defining the target users, analyzing the most effective way to reach
these, and the most effective message to communicate in line with what matters the most
Results: Target users for the app are FHW working in urban, semi-urban, or rural areas
endemic to NTDs. These areas could have variable access to electricity and internet and
difficult accessibility. FHW could use the app during or out of patient consultation. In both
cases, the app brings learning, diagnosis, and case management functionalities. Variances in
physical accessibility, access to electricity and internet forces to adapt communication means
and use digital marketing to effectively reach remote FHW. The first phase in the marketing
activities will include a launching campaign of the app in mass communication media with
high commitment of government decision makers and in-country renowned experts to
widely spread the word about the existence of the app, the branding surrounding it, its
functionalities and added value. The next phase, will consist in engaging users for continuous
use of the app. Here, technical support (through WhatsApp groups and in-person
interactions) to those that have already installed the app will be critical to maintain a base of
active users. The last phase aiming at embedding the app to routine clinical practice will use
a multi-channel approach adapted based on learning from previous phases.
Conclusion: Further research could provide guidance on a framework for disseminating
mHealth apps and encouraging their routine use by FHW in NTDs endemic areas.
– Keywords : WHO SkinNTDs app ; Dissemination ; Skin NTDs ; mHealth; Marketing.