In Nigeria, where 85 percent of the population lives on less than $2 per day, more than half of the country has mobile phone service. Cell phones are being used for health care, business, and to promote adult literacy. In Kenya, where the cheapest mobile phone costs about half the average monthly income, one cell phone service has more than 13 million subscribers.
Throughout Africa, Jenny C. Aker and Isaac M. Mbiti report for the Boston Review that “mobile phone use is booming despite high costs.” The phones are also making measurable improvements in people’s lives in the process. The authors make sure to provide plenty of fascinating examples, including these:
Health practitioners have been at the forefront of using mobile phones as a development tool in Africa. Mobile phone services monitor measles outbreaks in Zambia; support diagnosis and treatment by health workers in Mozambique; and disseminate health-education messages in Benin, Malawi, and Uganda. In Malawi mobile phones not only remind HIV-positive patients to take their anti-retroviral drugs, but also allow community health workers to share information on their patients status, saving considerable time and money.
Source: Boston Review (Article not yet available online.)