The Benefits of Mobile Health, on Hold
Thursday, March 14, 2013
The world now has 5 billion mobile phones – one for every person over 15. Africa has a billion people and 750 million phones, and mobile is growing so fast there that in a few years there will be more phones than people. In some countries this is already true — South Africa has 47 million people, but 52 million SIM cards.
The mobile phone is doing more than revolutionizing communication. It has the potential to improve many aspects of life in poor countries: commerce, health, agriculture, education. As we say repeatedly in Fixes, there are a lot of great new products that poor people can use to improve their lives. The problem is that it’s very difficult to get those out to people who need them. The same is true with information. It’s there, but people can’t get it, because they lack Internet service and electricity and the electronics that require these things. Delivery is the problem. It’s almost always the problem.
Until now. Now we have the mobile phone, a pipeline that can be used to bring information to everyone in the world – not just information, but any product that can be chopped up into electronic bits.