The following is a guest post by by Dr. Olaoluwatomi Lamikanra, a Public Health Practitioner.

By Olaoluwatomi Lamikanra. Since the introduction of mobile phones in Nigeria, the number of users has increased exponentially and usage is pretty much found in both rural and urban areas.

With regards to the internet, Nigeria has about 43 million users (total population over 155 million) which far exceeds by more than double the next African country on the list-Egypt.1

 
There are many projects associated with mobile health in Nigeria and with the exponential growth of mobile and internet users; there is an ever increasing market. Different sectors of the economy which have an impact on the health of the populace also stand to gain a lot from the introduction of mHealth initiatives. Water, Sanitation, Agriculture, Finance and Development are a few of the sectors. In Kenya, the introduction of the mPESA, a mobile phone application where moneys can be sent via mobile phones all around the country has solved the problems of money transfers. No longer do people in rural areas have to wait until someone is visiting from the city before money arrives. They receive the money as soon as it is sent from a PESA center. At a recent WaterHackathon event organised by CCHub in Lagos, one o f the tools suggested for Water development was a mobile system to facilitate the sharing of water resources in hard hit areas.2

Examples of some projects already in place include Mobile Community based Surveillance.mCBS is a mobile platform which is given to Traditional Birth Attendants to report vital maternal and child health indicators in real time using mobile phones. Using texts designed for this purpose the TBA can transmit alerts to nearby health officials who can respond immediately thus reducing delays in reaching appropriate care at a facility.3 Other mHealth projects currently being developed in Nigeria  is being collated by Ime Asangasi (@Imeasangasi- twitter handle) here.

REFERENCES:

  1. http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm (accessed 26th December 2011)
  2. http://www.cchubnigeria.com/watermeetup (accessed 26th December 2011)
  3. http://ehealthnigeria.org/where-we-work/list-of-implementations/mobile-community-based-surveillance-mcbs/

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