Mobile Apps for Pro Bono Health Care


by Briana Campbell (@MsMatchGirl)

A little over a year ago, we wrote about our participation in PSFK & UNICEFs The Future of Health Report, in a post entitled, Zee Future of Health. In that post, Dan Licht reviewed the ideas that Zemoga had brainstormed ideas for innovation, applications and analogue, that could help the most underserved amongst us to receive the medical care they deserve.

And, as weve written about more recently, the US Government has opened their data to anyone who wants to use it, making information accessible not only allowing people to use it, but creating challenges to out and out encourage innovation. The Health Apps challenge has created lifestyle applications that will help people get better sleep, exercise better, watch their calories more closely and all in all live a healthier lifestyle. Its mapped infectious disease spread through social networks and it has helped people with diabetes better manage their glucose levels.

So how can applications continue to lead the world toward a healthier life?

The time has come for more pro bono apps in the third world. And while we, who live in connected worlds and grew up seeing telephone lines and a touch tone phone in every home, heck, in every room, might have thought that a cell phone would be a luxury to people in remote regions of Africa, Asia or Central America the opposite is true. Because cell phones dont require rigid infrastructure, the advancement in mobile phone technology has also advanced communication amongst populations that have long been lacking it.

Johnson & Johnsons sponsored Text4Baby is a program that, internationally, has, according to an article on, had more than 20 million people in China, India, Mexico, Bangladesh, South Africa and Nigeria take advantage of the program. Providing simple pre-natal education can decrease infant mortality. And Frontline SMS:Medic, originally founded in Malawi, now serves other underserved populations, offering a platform to keep patient records and a mobile based method of collecting the information. They have a presence in 40% of Malawis hospitals, after one year, and are established in nine other countries.

The beauty is that these programs dont need to be elaborate. They dont need loads of bells and whistles. They just need to be able to get people the help, education and assistance they need.

And we, in the digital pharma space not only have the tools and the know-how to produce these tools, we are responsible to make them come to life.




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