Kenya plans fighting diseases with mobile phones

Nairobi: Researchers in Kenya are advocating use of mobile phones to enable people seek timely help against diseases like malaria and malnutrition.

As mobile phones have penetrated most parts of Africa, including the remotest parts, the researchers feel it would make it easier to approach health officials.

According to Dejan Zurovac of the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) quoted by Xinhua, the mobile phone can be used to improve the quality of medical care patients receive in the continent.

"A simple intervention like a text-message through SMS can substantially improve the quality of care patients receive," he said in a statement released from Kemri Thursday.

Zurovac noted that diseases like malaria are still killing many people in Africa thus people should change ways of combating them.

According to the researcher, text-messages with information on diseases can be sent to health workers, particularly those in remote areas on how to take care of patients. They will then pass the information to patients.

The workers can also be reminded to attend to patients through their mobile phones.

Similarly, patients can also be informed of how to take, for instance, malaria drugs to prevent death.

"The method should complement traditional approaches to support clinical management such as health worker training, and supervision," said Zurovac who was commending a new research done by Kemri on how mobile phone can be used to better people`s health.

In Kenya, it an estimated 20 million people use or have access to a mobile phone, which has become a major tool of communication in Africa.

On the other hand, there are annually about 250 million new cases of malaria infection across the world, most of them in Africa. Of these about 800,000 people die, most of them are children.


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