February 13, 2007

Cell phones mobilized to fight AIDS in Africa

Mobile phones are being harnessed to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa under a new $10-million scheme announced on Tuesday with the backing of leading companies and the U.S. government. Reuters reports.

"The "Phones-for-Health" project will use software loaded on to a standard Motorola handset to allow care workers in the field to enter critical health information into a central database in real time.

It will be transmitted using a standard GPRS mobile connection or, where this is not available, via an SMS channel.

... The new scheme builds on the success of a pilot project in Rwanda and will focus initially on the battle against HIV/AIDS in 10 African countries. South Africa's MTN is the first operator partner in the program.

Longer term, the hope is that the scheme will be extended further in Africa and spread to Asia to address other infectious diseases, including malaria and tuberculosis, the partners behind the launch said at the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona."

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