mHealth in Africa – examples of success.

Just read a great article on mobile phone use in Africa. It’s a topic that’s become quite popular but reading about specific examples of success and one that even reports the number of hours and money saved. This article gives the following examples of mobile phone use

  • Pill bottles that tell doctors when a patient has taken meds
  • An application that allows patients to send a text to their doctor even when they have no money left on their card to say “call me”.
  • Tracking disease information
  • Reminders on the phone for patients to take their medications
  • Phones for doctors serving in remote areas with clinical decision support tools.
I think the use of mobile phones is going to change the playing field in healthcare in Africa. The last example in the article talks about Medic Mobile and how a pilot project in Malawi saved 1200 provider hours and $3000 in transportation costs. This is great data.  The more data like this we gather, the more likely mhealth will be funded and embraced in large-scale.
When I was in Uganda last month and one interesting thing I noticed was the use of mobile phone GSM technology providing wireless internet in the rural areas. We went to Kayunga Hospital which was about a 2 hour drive outside of Kampala and the clinic computer room there was using this technology (along with solar panels for electricity). Many people told us of this technology being used for wireless internet (it’s a bit slow, can be inconsistent but it works)
I’m hoping to attend the NIH mHealth Summit in December to learn and hear more about this exciting field.
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