A Mobile Revolution in Africa

Mobile phones are a routine part of our lives, but they’re nothing less than a revolution in the developing world. According to the United Nations, there are over 4 billion cell phones in the world. Of that, 2.2 billion are in the developing world. All of a sudden, it is possible to communicate with people in every corner of the globe.

It’s been said, “Poverty is Isolation.”  That is especially true in Kilifi—while Kilifi has 73 health clinics, a full 57% of the population lives over 3 miles away from their closest clinic.  More alarmingly, for the 720,000 people in the district, there are only 11 practicing doctors.

That’s a big problem!  But cell phones break that isolation.  The solution:  Don’t bring the kids to the clinic—bring the clinic to the kids.  We’re going to be taking the medical care to the kids who need it most.  Our efforts will be through the cell phone.  Mobile coverage is good in Kilifi, and about half the population has access to a phone.  Our solution will leverage the existing network in Kilifi and provide a new and cost-effective avenue to provide health to the rural poor.

The United Nations Foundation recently formed the mHealth Alliance and produced an excellent report, “mHealth for Development:  The Opportunity of Mobile Technology for Healthcare in the Developing World.”  We definitely encourage you to read it.