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Mobile Phones Help Health Workers in Africa

Mon 15 Mar, 2010 // Firstnumber Team

Thought your mobile phone was just useful for making phone calls and sending text messages? Think again!

Mobile phone use in developing countries is experiencing a boom and not just for people who want to catch up with friends or make cheap international calls.

Instead, healthcare workers are using mobile phones to collect, store and share data on various diseases such as malaria and HIV as well as vaccination rates.

One group in particular, known as DataDyne, produce a web application known as Episurveyor which allows individuals to collect health data quickly and easily.

Using phones and mobile technology is thought to be much more efficient than traditional methods such as paper and pen.

Mobile phones can do more than just make cheap international calls

Up until now the system has received funding from the likes of the UN Foundation and Vodafone but it is hoped that interest from companies in other areas of the world, even outside of healthcare, will allow the project to become completely free standing.

BBC News spoke to DataDyne co-founder Joel Selanikio who said: “We recognise that there are very large, well funded organisations who Episurveyor quite useful. We've managed to get some of them to sign up to what we call a pro account.

“What we're attempting to do is bascially the same thing that Flickr does or that Skype does: Use the revenue from that minority of users to pay for the rest of the users to get a really good, free basic capacity.”

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