Global cell phone usage for health message dissemination

  • July 03, 2014 | Kim Lamont

Cellphones can be effectively utilised for health messaging. Photo courtesy of Elvert Barnes

Restrained resources in developing countries have prompted many African countries to use cellular telecommunication networks as an intervention to manage chronic diseases (Lester et al., 2010). 

Mobile interventions with health tips sent via SMS can provide essential health information and encouragement to patients and may act as an effective strategy in improving health (Mahmud et al., 2010).

According to the international Telecommunication data, there are 6.8-billion mobile subscriptions worldwide, which is equivalent to 96% of the world population. Mobile subscribers in the developed world are rapidly reaching saturation point, with at least one mobile subscription per person (World Telecommunication Centre, 2012).

This means market growth is being driven by demand in the developing world that has been escalating in recent years and has been estimated to have reached 5.2-billion mobile subscriptions by the end of 2012 in the developing world. 

Cell phones are predominantly used for their SMS functionality: in 2011 there were 7 844-trillion SMSs sent, in 2012, 8 600-trillion and in 2013, 9 554-trillion (Portio Research February 2012 & World Telecommunication Centre, 2012).

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