With the world's highest rates of HIV and TB, health care provision has to be at the top of most African countries' agendas - and innovative use of mobile technologies may be just the salve they are looking for.
Misha Kay, who examines cellphone technology for the World Health Organisation (WHO), recently told the Mobile Health Summit in Cape Town that there was a "fairly healthy groundswell of activity" in mobile-health initiatives.
There are more than 5-billion mobile phone subscribers in the world, and 85% of the planet covered by a commercial wireless signal. In a recent global survey, the WHO found that only 19 of 114 countries had no mobile health initiatives. In fact, Kay said, most countries were running several projects aimed at supporting health care provision.
Kay reportedly told the conference that while south-east Asia, the Americas and Europe had the most initiatives, around 75 of the surveyed African countries were also making use of this technology. The survey was based on a 2009, report "The opportunity of mobile technology for healthcare in the developing world".
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