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Mobile phones in healthcare delivery

The use of Mobile Telephone technology has remarkable potential in the development of the Healthcare Industry in Africa. The AFRIHealth conference is the ideal avenue to share developments and to explore opportunities.

The conference will have presentations on the use of Mobile telephones in healthcare in Malawi, Uganda and Kenya

The following applications using mobile telephones will be discussed:

1.Development of M-Health. This is a Kenyan development where any health information maybe accessed using a mobile telephone. Questions are directed to a central data bank with a specific code for the category of information required. This presentation will be led by Dr Maurice Waka of AAR.

2.M-Pesa Account Payments.  A project involving Safaricom, AAR and Microsystems which has been in development for some time but has recently gone live. Details of the system will be presented by Microsystems.

3.Baobab Project, Malawi. A Point of Care system connecting patients with a hospital relating to drug regime compliance and monitoring. This project has been in operation for about two years and there will be many ‘lessons learnt’ arising from their experiences.

4.Texttochange. An application using mobile phones to share information on HIV/AIDS developed by a Dutch NGO in Uganda. Bas Hoefman will present on this unique initiative which as been running for two years and which has had a remarkable impact on educating the public.

5.M-Pharma. Developed in Kenya to enable medical practitioners and the Public to access a central data bank and request information on a pharmaceutical product using the barcode as a reference.

6.Food Info. Developed in Kenya and is a derivative of M-Pharma which enables the Public to request information on any food product using the barcode as the reference.

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In addition to the above there is work taking place that will enable contra indication information of pharmaceuticals to be accessed at any time. i.e. what interactions may occur if taking several drugs at one time. We will have time in plenary to hear more about this initiative.

Opportunities exist in using mobile telephones to access your medical test results or enable doctors to access each other free of charge to seek information or advice. This has proved to be successful in West Africa thereby improving doctors’ performance.

Finally, a project at an Eldoret Hospital is in the development stages with Safaricom and we hope to hear more about this project which monitors patients’ adherence to their drug regime.

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