Global Partnership To Launch $10M Initiative That Aims To Bolster HIV/AIDS Care in 10 African Countries Using Cell Phones
A new public-private partnership on Tuesday at the 2007 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, announced the launch of a new $10 million campaign that will use cell phones to bolster HIV/AIDS care and treatment in 10 African countries, Reuters reports (Reuters, 2/13). The partnership includes the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, Motorola, the GSMA Development Fund, Accenture Development Partnership, MTN and Voxiva, the AP/Houston Chronicle reports (Moore, AP/Houston Chronicle, 2/13). Under the initiative, called "Phones-for-Health," health workers in the field can access software loaded on a standard Motorola cell phone to enter HIV/AIDS and health information into a central database in real time, Reuters reports. Information will be transmitted using a standard GPRS mobile connection, and when not available, an SMS channel will be used (Reuters, 2/13). The information sent to the central database will then be analyzed by the system and made available to health officials on the Internet. The system also will allow field staff to receive text alerts and other information. According to Paul Meyer, Voxiva chair, the system will allow health workers to order medicine and access treatment guidelines and training materials (AP/Houston Chronicle, 2/13). According to GSMA, 60% of Africans live in areas with mobile phone coverage, and the figure is expected to increase to 85% by 2010. World Health Organization Assistant Director-General Howard Zucker said, "The explosive spread of mobile phone networks across the developing world has created a unique opportunity to significantly transform how countries can tackle global health challenges." The initiative aims to expand to additional countries in Africa and to Asia and to address other diseases, including malaria and tuberculosis, the partners said Tuesday (Reuters, 2/13).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.