The ubiquity of mobile phones and decreasing cost of SMS are beginning to transform health care systems in some of the most impoverished regions of the world—places such as Kibera, Nairobi, Africa’s largest urban slum.
But even as Kenya’s mobile penetration is nearing 80%, better access to health information doesn’t always translate into more health services for all – development organizations and government institutions still can’t get medicines and services to many families in the poorest areas, and the private sector is still struggling to cover costs.
This is the case even though technology is also facilitating cheaper medical services and better diagnostics all over the world. There is a need to ensure that these benefits are actually passed on to all urban and slum residents.
“Poor communities in regions with inadequate health care resources are severely affected by a lack of access to preventive and life-saving treatments,” said David Barash, MD, chief medical officer for GE Foundation. And people often resort to self-diagnosis and purchasing unregulated…