Mobile Future

Wireless helps save lives in Rwanda

Telecom TV ran an interesting piece this week on mobile phones in Rwanda. The country is home to approximately 10 million people, and of those citizens, more than 300,000 are infected with HIV or AIDS.  While Rwanda is one of the most densely populated countries in Africa, 78 percent of the population lives in rural areas and mountainous regions, which makes treating disease a difficult prospect.  In order to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS, healthcare providers must be able to circulate accurate information about prevention and treatment options. 

To improve communications, the Rwandan government has found a new solution to connect providers with patients.  TRACnet is a web-based software tool that also utilizes cell phones to connect hospitals and clinics.  Healthcare providers can use TRACnet to connect with each other, to disseminate information on HIV/AIDS to patients, and update the government so that it can respond with adequate support and supplies. The data can be sent over the Internet or over mobile phones, and it employs a two-way system that allows individuals to send out info and messages as well as access information like lab results.

Using mobile phones to relay data is a valuable component of the service.  In a country where the GDP is only $263.50 per person, cell phones provide a more affordable and accessible option than the Internet. 

Ultimately, the numbers speak for themselves – three years ago, twelve centers were treating 1000 patients, now there are over 40,000 individuals in treatment using lifesaving wireless technologies. To learn more, check out the piece below or at Telecom TV.