Wednesday, April 13, 2005

SMS fights HIV!

In a poor South African region, an SMS service is used to take care of HIV positive people. The residents in Gugulethu are exclusively black and almost all poor - unemployment runs at 60% and some estimates put the number of people with HIV at three out of every 10 people. The ones that are ill have to take some 30 pills a day, and they often forget some of these, so an SMS system is used to remind them about medication.
SMS is also used to report patients' condition: some 50 50 HIV councillors in Gugulethu using texting to feed an online database with data. It's quick, reliable and - most importantly for the cash-strapped health clinics in the townships - cheap!
The system enables the clinic managers to focus on the patients who really need help urgently. That is done thanks to a computer software that takes in all the mobile phone messages and automatically puts them on a website.


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