Africa: Toll-Free Mobile Service to Give Rural Africa Access to Medics

Friday, May 9, 2008

A toll-free mobile service being launched in selected remote areas in Africa promises to save lives by connecting people with emergency medical cases to health personnel.

Under the initiative launched in Nairobi on Wednesday, health workers will also be trained through mobile phone sessions on day to day skills like collecting and sharing basic household health information.

Telecommunication equipment provider Ericsson and mobile phone service provider Zain have adopted the new approach in a bid to stimulate the demand of mobile solutions in areas they consider commercially challenging.
The two companies have entered into a partnership that will ensure they provide network access, mobile phone handsets, sim cards and toll-free emergency numbers in remote areas in order to stimulate demand for cellular phone solutions in those areas.

The initiative is being rolled out in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya.

In Kenya, Ericsson and Zain subsidiary, Celtel, are rolling out a pilot programme in North Garissa in Dertu village targeting some 5,200 inhabitants.

According to the President of Ericsson, Mr Carl-Henri Svanberge, the partnership also includes the Earth Institute and will benefit 400,000 people in Africa.

In the partnership, Ericsson will provide network connectivity in the identified areas, while the mobile service providers will provide the SIM cards and airtime, while the handset manufacturer Sony Ericsson will provide the handsets.

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