n Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies - South Africa's mobiles deliver healthcare services

Volume 6, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 2141-6990
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South Africa has harnessed mobile phones to deliver healthcare services (mHealth). The bold initiative is significant in that healthcare had, heretofore, been a privilege mostly for whites under the racial apartheid government. With the election of Nelson Mandela as president in 1994, the new non-racial government liberalized telecommunications policies which empowered the black majority who make up 79 percent of the population. Thus, the young multiethnic nation enjoys a multimedia environment where free SMS (short message service) text messages are transmitted to patients (users), including establishing two-way forums to facilitate nurses' training; field visitation by healthcare providers to rural areas, and grassroots for nurses; and delivering healthcare services to those who need it the most. Text and e.Mobile visual messages expedite transmission of patients' data to healthcare providers; facilitate training of healthcare workers; permit communication between healthcare provider and patients; assist patients with medication intake; and render a variety of women's healthcare services; and promote healthy living through treatment and testing of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Evaluation has shown improvement in healthcare delivery. Challenges include high levels of illiteracy among the population and issues pertaining to software ownership.

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