Ericson has partnered with the United Nations Office to use telecommunications to bring mobile-health applications and services (m-health) and telemedicine to rural Africa. As a founding member of the UN’s Digital Health Initiative, Ericsson is taking another step in its ongoing commitment to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which aim to reduce global extreme poverty.
The Digital Health Initiative (DHI) is a public/private partnership that works to create innovative models for the development and delivery of global health to millions in developing countries. This will be critical to help achieve those Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that are related to health, which specifically address the need to tackle diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other infectious and communicable diseases, reduce child mortality, and improve maternal health. The MDG named “Develop a global partnership for development” also points out the vital role that the private sector can play, especially in terms of information and communication technology, in meeting the other goals. DHI aims to confront the diseases of poverty more efficiently and effectively. Engaging the private sector is seen as critical to reaching this goal. Mobile communications in particular can empower individuals, communities, health workers and health institutions to streamline knowledge capture, collection and communication in the field of health.
Ericsson will use its expertise to spearhead the initiative’s technology stream, and will explore the use of mobile communications to deliver telemedicine to rural communities, to help to improve access to and delivery of emergency and general health services, assist with disease surveillance and control, enhance the collection of basic health data such as birth and death registration, and deliver mobile learning to health workers in remote areas. Ericsson’s experience in India and Bangladesh shows that even people with an average income of USD 1.25 per day can have access to medical care with the help of mobile connectivity.