Mobile is at the heart of Africa’s health*



From public sector side, from private sector side, from NGO side, everyone can observe how mobile health is heftily shifting to allow extending services being accessible to individuals and enabling a place where people can do well by doing good.

Manoj Kohli is the CEO International & Joint MD, Bharti Airtel. Bharti Airtel International BV launched many operations in Africa targeting the 2 billion youngest population of the world in the next 30-40 coming years and therefore, a promising market for telecom. Together with China, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, Bharti Airtel will have a coverage of 4 billion. The critical point of this market expansion is certainly its multicultural aspect as fast and cross cultural acquisition anywhere in the world is no child’s play.  Africa suffers from weak infrastructure and “even India has more doctors than Africa.”

Airtel has developed several initiatives in the continent:

#1   Capturing and analyzing data for disease surveillance

#2   Providing remote diagnoses via telemedicine

#3   Supporting community health workers in gathering and managing health information

#4   Improving access to health education, information and resources through health hotlines

#5   Coordinating drug and medical supply distribution

Tim Wood, Director, Mobile Health Innovation, Grameen Foundation

Tim Wood believes in the power of NTICs to help developing countries to cope with healthcare problems.  He has worked 12 years for Microsoft on software development and 2 years at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which is dedicated to Information Technology and Global Health purposes. As a member of the Grameen Foundation since 2002, he has created the MOTECH Platform (Mobile Technology for Community Health) which is suited for mHealth applications, sending messages to patients and caregivers based on an evaluation of the recommended schedule of care.

MOTECH has the following capabilities:

·         To communicate information to patients via voice or SMS according to a schedule of care defined for the patient’s condition

·         To collect data from patients or caregivers

·         To alert caregivers of the adherence status of their patients

·         To facilitate communication between patients, caregivers, and/or health administrators

Gustav Praekelt, Founder & CEO, Praekelt launched his foundation in 2007, believing in social business to bring mobile solutions for social good.  Today, the Praekelt Foundation has already reached over 50 million people across 15 countries in Africa.  Gustav Praekelt's mission is to make mobile technology available to everyone through platform such as Young Africa Live, ”the world's first entertainment-oriented mobile portal that focuses on stimulating discussion around Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS in South Africa.”           

Mobile communication is hugely transforming Africa’s landscape with mobile operators’ revenues ranking at the top 25 African countries and having contributed to US$49bn in 2010. Therefore, the mobile ecosystem plays a major role in regional employment with 5.4 million people either directly or indirectly employed in the broader mobile ecosystem.

*I was invited to attend Mobile World Congress 2012 by Orange Group to join their Social Media Team

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