mHealth interventions to improve the diagnosis of congenital anomalies in low and middle income countries

   Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

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  Prof Helen Dolk, Dr R Bond, Prof Frank Casey  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

mHealth provides significant opportunities for Low and Middle Income (LMIC) countries to improve access to diagnosis and healthcare. LMIC are increasingly focusing attention on the prevention and treatment of congenital anomalies in order to meet SDG3 targets in relation to child mortality and access to care.  Ulster University led the development of the Global Birth Defects app for the Description and Coding of Birth Defects for research and surveillance use, and is also currently involved in the establishment of congenital anomaly networks in Latin America and SubSaharan Africa, and in AI research regarding imaging analysis for congenital heart disease, as well as related research in the Ulster’s new Digital Health Technology Centre.

This project will build on previous and ongoing research. The aims of the project are to specify and test a telemedicine module for congenital heart disease for low resource environments, to develop recommendations for best practice in data protection, to undertake rigorous testing of usability, accessibility and user experience, and to consider sustainability of mHealth interventions. The student will undertake desk-based review of available materials on the internet, structured consultations of experts and of stakeholders in LMIC, and will use an implementation research methodological framework ie. “the scientific study of the processes used in the implementation of initiatives as well as the contextual factors that affect these processes.”

We are seeking a candidate with a combination of public health knowledge or experience, skills and interest in mHealth technology, and good interpersonal communication skills. A degree in biomedical sciences, public health, health informatics or related subjects is required.

Important Information: Applications for more than one PhD studentship are welcome, however if you apply for more than one PhD project within Medicine, your first application on the system will be deemed your first-choice preference and further applications will be ordered based on the sequential time of submission. If you are successfully shortlisted, you will be interviewed only on your first-choice application and ranked accordingly. Those ranked highest will be offered a PhD studentship. In the situation where you are ranked highly and your first-choice project is already allocated to someone who was ranked higher than you, you may be offered your 2nd or 3rd choice project depending on the availability of this project.

Medicine (26) Nursing & Health (27)


Dolk H, Leke AZ, Whitfield P, Moore R, Karnell K, Barišić I, Barlow-Mosha L, Botto LD, Garne E, Guatibonza P, Godfred-Cato S, Halleux CM, Holmes LB, Moore CA, Orioli I, Raina N, Valencia D. Global birth defects app: An innovative tool for describing and coding congenital anomalies at birth in low resource settings. Birth Defects Res. 2021 Aug 15;113(14):1057-1073. doi: 10.1002/bdr2.1898. Epub 2021 May 5. PMID: 33949803; PMCID: PMC8349897.
Peters DH, Tran NT, Adam T. Implementation research in health: a practical guide. Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research, World Health Organization, 2013 9789241506212_eng.pdf (
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 About the Project