Mobile phone use in Africa has spread far, wide and fast. By the end of last year, it was estimated that 70 percent of the population would have a mobile phone. Now, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies says it’s using the technology to save lives.In Kenya, the IFRC has developed the Rapid Mobile Phone-based survey, otherwise known as RAMP. It allows the medical aid group to learn a lot about the health of people in remote, rural communities in very little time. Jason Peat, the senior health officer for malaria, says the idea for the survey came from IFRC volunteers.
“There are volunteers using those mobile phones to communicate. They’re doing it two ways. They’re using them as a regular phone, but more often than not we see them use the phones to send text messages back and forth because they’re a very inexpensive way to communicate. Red Cross volunteers and other community health workers at a very local level were already figuring out a way to manage activities, to manage programs and not just health programs, but all programs using mobile phones,” he said.
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