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Innovating to improve women and children's health
Date:9/12/2011

and must become self-sustaining," says Dr. Klausner, a former director of global health for the Gates Foundation and of the US National Cancer Institute.

The mobile revolution demonstrates that uptake and scaling are possible when there is a demand and a sustainable business model. In the long run, a sustainable model for development needs to become increasingly donor-independent. This requires a clear understanding of both the beneficiaries and the payers on the demand side; households, government health systems, the private sector or a combination of them.

The report describes a number of innovative projects that are focused on improving the health of poor women, newborns and children.

  • Cell-Life is a South African cell phone project to remind HIV positive mothers to keep appointments, bring infants for HIV testing, and, if needed, treatment. Forty percent of deaths of children under 5 in South Africa are due to AIDS-related illnesses, many because mothers are not able to bring their infants for treatment or drop out of programs.

In Cell-Life's program, mothers get short text messages for 10 weeks with helpful tips, and reminders to keep appointments and give medications. In a trial of 738 mothers, more than 90 percent of the 323 who got messages brought infants for testing, compared with 78 percent of those who didn't receive messages. The project costs $1.50 per mother to send messages, nothing to the mother who receives them. An estimated 80 percent of South Africans have access to mobile phones.

  • The Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) uses specially designed printers to reduce turnaround time from laboratories to clinic for critical HIV test results. Working with two engineers, CHAI modified existing printers to operate on Global Service for Mobile Communications (GSM) networks so that labs could send test results directly to battery-backed clinic printers.

After a successful pilot in Nige
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Contact: Marshall Hoffman
marshall@hoffmanpr.com
703-533-3535
United Nations Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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