Mobile phone SMS, a promising tool for malaria control in Africa

Scientists have suggested that text messaging can be used to control malaria in Africa. 

Dejan Zurovac and colleagues discuss six areas where text messaging could improve the delivery of health services and health outcomes in malaria in Africa. Image Credit: Eric (HASH) Hersman

Dejan Zurovac and colleagues from the Kenya Medical Research Institute/Wellcome Trust Research Program, Nairobi, Kenya described six areas where text messaging could improve the delivery of health services and health outcomes in malaria in Africa.

These include three areas transmitting information from the periphery of the health system to malaria control managers and three areas transmitting information to support management of malaria patients.

“The widespread use of short messaging service (SMS), the least expensive mobile phone function, offers a solution that could rapidly overcome weaknesses in communication potentially leading to improved delivery of health services and better health outcomes,” the researchers said.

“We consider text messaging interventions that have the potential for immediate scale-up, benefiting from the widespread availability of basic mobile phones that do not require installation and maintenance of additional applications,” they added.

The full study appears in this week’s PLoS Medicine, titled “Mobile Phone Text Messaging: Tool for Malaria Control in Africa” – Open Access.

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