Breaking News

Texting your way to health

by Jocelyne Sambira
15 February 2013 | 3531 Views

Message telling you when and how to take your diabetes medication. Or a voice mail reminding you of your next mammogram. That's what two UN agencies are hoping to do with mobile technology to save lives, reduce illness and disability and bring down healthcare costs.

Increased access to communications technologies has given rise to the concept of "mobile health," or mHealth, involving the use of mobile phones for healthcare purposes. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) are currently testing mobile solutions to help people with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes, cardiovascular maladies, respiratory diseases and cancer to better manage their conditions. The agencies also hope to encourage people to quit smoking, exercise more and eat healthier.

An estimated 36 million people die every year from NCDs in both developed and developing countries alike, according to WHO. They also account for a major share of health care needs and expenditures. In the next decade deaths from NCDs in Africa will jump by 24 per cent, the agency forecasts.

ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré believes that these diseases can be controlled through the intervention of mHealth initiatives. "Technological innovations are changing the landscape of disease prevention and control," he said. "The widespread availability of mobile technology, including in many of the least developed countries, is an exceptional opportunity to expand the use of e-health" (which includes computer, Web, mobile phone and other electronic technologies). He was speaking in Dubai at Telecom World 2012, a yearly event at which experts, policy makers and leaders come together to share ideas on the future of global telecommunications.

The initiative builds on current projects like WHO's use of mobile devices to gather data on tobacco use in 17 countries, covering half the world's population. Mobile phones have also been shown to help health care providers offer better care and deter harmful practices. In Kenya, according to a recent study, government health care workers were sent text messages coaching them on the proper malaria-treatment protocol. Health clinic workers can send alerts when they run low on medications to avoid stock shortages.

By early 2012, says ITU, there were more than 6 billion mobile phone subscriptions worldwide, with developing countries accounting for the lion's share of growth. In that context, mHealth could be one of the best ways to reach huge numbers of patients and care providers.




However, warns Harsha Thirumurthy, an economist whose research focuses on the link between health and economic outcomes in low-income settings, several aspects of the mHealth interventions warrant further research. In the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, he and Richard T. Lester strongly recommend a more thorough investigation of how text-messaging interventions compare with other interventions such as feeding programmes or home visits by community workers. They also bring up issues of cost — who will foot the bill remains unclear. If not the health care providers, are patients willing to pay for the service? Furthermore, it remains to be seen if mHealth can help induce behavioural change and get people to better adhere to treatment regimens for diseases like malaria and tuberculosis.



Texting health


Disclaimer:
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

Source: Africa Renewal www.un.org

Should airtime and street vendors pay the $1 a day State levy?

Yes
10.88%
No
82.99%
Desperation
6.12%
735

Comments

News Updates

Email:

Latest News

Castle Lager PSL results - Harare City 3 - 0 How MineZPC Kariba 2 - 0 ...

by Sports reporter | 23 August 2014 | 807 Views

Mugabe off to China - President Robert Mugabe has left Harare for Chi...

by Staff reporter | 23 August 2014 | 1064 Views

Bosso, Dembare feud: Tribalism or fanaticism merely symptoms - FOLLOW...

by Sikhumbuzo Moyo | 23 August 2014 | 914 Views

Bus driver jailed for using dead brother's licence - A DRIVER employed...

by Staff reporter | 23 August 2014 | 1262 Views

Man impregnates daughter to get rich - A father from Gokwe, Zimbabwe, ...

by Staff reporter | 23 August 2014 | 1030 Views

The Hedge Fund and Robert Mugabe - This article was taken from busines...

by Cam Simpson and Jesse Westbrook | 23 August 2014 | 747 Views

Zanu-PF chair derides idea of Bulawayo being granted special economic ...

by Staff reporter | 23 August 2014 | 662 Views

'Mugabe its time to say goodbye' singer set for Harare Jazz Festival -...

by Staff reporter | 23 August 2014 | 906 Views

Bosso in tricky encounter - HIGHLANDERS dribbling master, Rahman Kutsa...

by Ricky Zililo | 23 August 2014 | 531 Views

King Mzilikazi commemoration preps on - Commemorations of the 146th An...

by Staff reporter | 23 August 2014 | 300 Views

French bag-snatchers languish in Zimbabwe prison - A HUSBAND-AND-WIFE ...

by Leonard Ncube | 23 August 2014 | 647 Views

'Mugabe denying millions of their rights' - Amnesty International (AI)...

by Staff reporter | 23 August 2014 | 406 Views

Lt Col Tshuma takes over command of Plumtree based Army Battalion - A ...

by Sifundiso Ndlovu | 23 August 2014 | 581 Views

'People voted Zanu-PF,' says Mafume - Tendai Biti's renewal team has u...

by Staff reporter | 23 August 2014 | 394 Views

Zimbabwe mulls domestic processing industry - Government should put an...

by Staff reporter | 23 August 2014 | 305 Views

Tsvangirai accuse Mugabe of recruiting Israeli officials - MDC-T leade...

by Staff reporter | 23 August 2014 | 660 Views

Teacher 'rapist' seeks acquittal - A BULAWAYO man charged over an alle...

by Thandeka Moyo | 23 August 2014 | 492 Views

Matonga linked to Prophet Magaya's adultery case? - Former Deputy Mini...

by Staff reporter | 23 August 2014 | 657 Views

Tsvangirai's supporters bay for the prosecutor's blood - MDC-T support...

by Court Reporter | 23 August 2014 | 346 Views

Police grab 'rapist' in church - A RAPIST lost his freedom after turni...

by Thandeka Moyo | 23 August 2014 | 567 Views

School boys drive sex industry, say prostitute - PLUMTREE sex workers ...

by Sukulwenkosi Dube | 23 August 2014 | 870 Views

Sir Wicknell Chivayo's solar tender cancelled - THE State Procurement ...

by Lloyd Gumbo | 23 August 2014 | 466 Views

New Ndiweni chief appointed

by Nduduzo Tshuma | 23 August 2014 | 643 Views

Mnangagwa signs death warrants - Following reports that Justice Minist...

by Staff Reporter | 23 August 2014 | 3579 Views

Liberia's Ebola-free region falls to virus - Monrovia - Every region o...

by Staff Reporter | 23 August 2014 | 1230 Views

Chissano urges African leaders such as Mugabe not to overstay in offic...

by Staff Reporter | 23 August 2014 | 3551 Views

' I'm looking for my father Elijah Charles Tatire Hondo Siziba' - What...

by SA Resident | 23 August 2014 | 838 Views

Help me find Geofrey Sibanda - WhatsApp update - Please note that Bula...

by SA Resident | 23 August 2014 | 675 Views

Entertainment

Bev eyes Zima Award - Beverly "Bev" Sibanda, the newly-appointed Msasa...

by Staff reporter | 23 August 2014 | 231 Views

New TV channels after digitilisation - BROADCASTING Authority of Zimba...

by Staff reporter | 23 August 2014 | 342 Views

Sacred Nguni genre unlocked; now sung in Shona

by Vusumuzi Ndlovu | 22 August 2014 | 3044 Views

SA's upcoming gospel musician tours England - ONE of South Africa's up...

by Staff Reporter | 22 August 2014 | 749 Views

Zimbabwean model to host Big Brother launch - Model, presenter and ac...

by Staff reporter | 21 August 2014 | 2270 Views

Star FM's, Admire Taderera sent on forced leave - Star FM boss Admire ...

by Staff reporter | 21 August 2014 | 4417 Views

Zimbabwean businessman, Tapfuma Nzara, creating a valuable lifestyle brand in SA

by Janine Dube, www.onevybe.com | 21 August 2014 | 5122 Views

Ex-Q dumps wife and 2 kids, elopes with Sugar Mummy - Flamboyant rappe...

by Staff reporter | 20 August 2014 | 4871 Views