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Ericsson to bring digital-health to Africa

October 17, 2008 • Mobile and Telecoms

ericsson.jpgEricsson’s experience in Bangladesh and India shows that people with even an average income of $ 1.25 per day can have access to medical care with the help of mobile connectivity

Ericsson has joined hands with United Nations Office for partnerships to make use of telecommunications to get mobile-health applications and services (m-health) and telemedicine to rural Africa by becoming a founding member of the UN’s Digital Health Initiative. The Digital Health Initiative (DHI) is a PPP model that works to create innovative models for the development and delivery of global health to millions in developing countries. It aims to help achieve those Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that are related to health, which specifically address the need to tackle diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, child mortality, and improve maternal health. The key focus of the DHI is to confront poverty related diseases more efficiently and effectively. Involving the private sector is seen as critical to reaching this goal. Mobile communications in particular can empower communities, health workers and healthcare institutions to streamline knowledge-capture, collection and communication. Ericsson will use its expertise to spearhead the scheme’s technology stream, and will delve into the use of mobile communications to provide telemedicine to rural masses, to help to increase accessibility and delivery of emergency health services, assist with disease surveillance and control, boost the collection of fundamental health data such as birth and death registration, and provide mobile learning to health workers in remote areas. Ericsson’s experience in Bangladesh and India shows that people with even an average income of $ 1.25 per day can have access to medical care with the help of mobile connectivity. Ericsson’s Gramjyoti project in India brought a range of services including m-learning and m-governance, telemedicine as well as the Alokito Bangladesh project, which brought in high-speed, internet-enabled mobile learning and healthcare to Dhaka. Carl-Henric Svanberg, Ericsson President and CEO said, “Telecommunications play a vital role in facilitating access to healthcare services, which help empower communities to improve their own social and economic situations. This initiative reflects our ongoing commitment to harnessing our technical leadership to develop sustainable business models that bridge the digital, and health, divide.” Amir Dossal, Executive Director of the UN Office for Partnerships, said, “We believe the DHI will form the basis of a strategic framework for new model partnerships across ICT, healthcare-technology and pharmaceutical sectors with a view to concrete deliverables in the accelerated delivery of the health-related MDGs.”

In Africa, Ericsson plans to bring mobile connectivity to over half a million people in the Millennium Village sites in Senegal, Mali, Nigeria, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania and Ethiopia. The Millennium Villages provide an excellent basis from which to understand the needs of the villagers, and in turn pilot new innovative technological solutions in cooperation with the national health ministries and project staff.


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