Connecting developing nations

Monday, April 24, 2006

A pregnant woman at home alone in her remote village in Sierra Leone unexpectedly went into a difficult labor and, with no access to a doctor or medical facilities, a minor medical emergency could have taken a tragic turn.

But the woman, Emma Sesay, managed to use one of the few cellphones in the village of Port Loko and called her husband, who borrowed a car and rushed home from his job, picking up a midwife along the way. They arrived in time to help Sesay give birth to a healthy boy, whom she promptly christened Celtel, the name of the cellphone company that provides services in her village and many others across 14 African countries, including Burkina Faso, Kenya, Uganda and Madagascar.

Sesay’s story was recounted in an interview on Wednesday with Celtel’s chairman, Mohamed Ibrahim, who said, “You cannot underestimate the effect a cellphone can have on the lives of people who live in conditions where there are no roads, no transport networks and no postal service.”

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Source: International Herald Tribune (link opens in a new window)