Smartphone, tablet health apps touted as lifesavers
Mobile phones could save up to a million lives over the next five years in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a report by mobile industry association GSMA and global consultants PwC released at the February 25-28 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Africa's population of one billion is among the world's least "connected" yet more than a third already own a mobile phone, often in the most isolated areas, added a study by Wireless Intelligence.
The same is true in other parts of the world.
"In India, a lot of people have no access to Internet, they sometimes can't read, but they have a mobile phone," said Sara Chamberlain, head of information and communications technology for India for BBC Media Action.
"It's often the only device they can access," said Chamberlain, who works on mobile health campaigns.
An SMS text information campaign can significantly improve the impact and efficiency of organisations' disease prevention programmes, she said.
"In maternal, newborn and child health, we are witnessing the game-changing effects that mobile technology has to offer through services such as pregnancy and birth registries, immunisation and nutrition tracking," said Patricia Mechael, executive director of mHealth Alliance.
These services could prove useful in sub-Saharan Africa for instance, where more than 1.2 million newborns die each year and one in nine children do not reach the age of five, according to the report by
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