Throwing out the 'mobile phone lifeline' for Kenyan health

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How the saturation of mobile phones in Kenya is being leveraged to meet an exceedingly challenging set of health problems. While 45 mHealth projects are active or have already been completed in Kenya—more than in any other country, according to the mHealth Alliance–the major downside is that many are grant-financed–and when it ends, so does the pilot. This is about some with more staying power:

  • Health workers reporting and tracking the spread of infectious disease in real time, using SMS
  • SMS communications with HIV-positive patients at three health centers for assistance with their antiretroviral drugs, resulting in a 9 point improvement in viral load suppression
  • Reliable lists of doctors and dentists, in a country with a severe scarcity of professionals
  • Health payment cards through mobile phone banking
  • Doctor emergency location through the local mobile provider

A fascinating look at relatively simple tools deployed, for the most part, well. Kenya’s startup boom MIT Technology Review.