Africa Health: The epidemic of mobile technology

Africa Health: The epidemic of mobile technology

When it comes to the impact of technology in the Africa healthcare system, mobile phones cannot be relegated. Mobile technology solutions can be powerful enablers as there is increasing utilization of technology across the African society. Despite continued economic and social instability coupled with unreliable electricity, infrastructure and unbelievably low literacy, yet the demand for mobile tech is increasing by the speed of light.

The ultimate goal of introducing mobile technology into health care system is to provide medical information to everyone whenever, wherever, irrespective of age, social status, health status, educational status.

There have been various well documented success stories of mobile phone text message –based health campaigns aimed at creating awareness for specific health issues in Africa.

An example is the UNICEF RapidPro which was launched in 2014 and was designed as an open source SMS frame work of operating systems for mobile phones, also another case to reckon with was the outbreak of Ebola Virus in Nigeria, West Africa, text messages were sent to the public on preventive measures to curb the outbreak and which led to quick eradication of the disease in the country.

The pace at which mobile phones have spread globally is unmatched in the history of technology, According to Crown Agents 2014, The surging uptake of mobile technology has only been so endemic because it has stemmed from organic needs and abilities of the population, it is not been imposed rather it is naturally longed for, it is now an addiction.

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However, Governments, Non-Governmental Organizations, Private sectors seems to have forgotten that the aim of mobile technology is to transfer information without barriers, so lets us go back to the reason why mobile tech was introduced to health care system which is campaigning, creating awareness, and sensitization through mobile phones. Mobile technology should not be limited to medical software Applications and health data storage alone, it can also be geared to improving the quality of health education which in turn will reduce morbidity and mortality rate in each community in Africa.

Mobile phone is as ubiquitous as sand, so let everyone in health sector take advantage of its ubiquity attribute to reach out to people who are too shy to come to the health facility due to stigmatization.  In addition,  people who are disadvantaged due to bad road network,  people who are financially incapable of accessing health facilities,  people who are ignorant of their present health status   and people who aware of their health condition but needs to know the next step to take.

Crown Agents in 2014 says the greatest financial cost of establishing mHealth structures lie not in their development but in EFFECTIVE INTEGRATION with existing health systems and HUMAN and technical infrastructures already in place, and it’s here where the governments, NGO’S, private sectors needs to start developing their roles in advancement of mHealth technology.

 

Blessing Oyediran

Holds BSc degree in Public health from Babcock University, Has vast experience in community field work, health program planning, epidemiology, monitoring and evaluation, health promotion. Familiar with the health system from the federal government level to the local governments also worked with FHI 360

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