By the Blouin News Science & Health staff

Mobile health tech aims at stemming viruses in Africa

by in Medicine.

ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP/Getty Images

ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP/Getty Images

Mobile health technologies combine the growth of wireless coverage across the world with modern mobile software and hardware and the integration of big data that is just beginning to realize its full potential in areas where in-person medical services are not necessarily available. A group called Mobilium Global is launching an application for mobile users specifically in Africa that is designed to encompass a broad range of health initiatives, and targeted at reducing viral transmissions.

VISUAL CONTEXT: GROWTH OF MOBILE USAGE

Source: StatCounter

Source: StatCounter

The Smart Health hub was announced in October 2013, and the application itself has just launched across seven African countries: Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Angola, Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, and Senegal, according to reports. The software “addresses the three major pandemic diseases in Africa — HIV/ AIDs, tuberculosis, and malaria” by providing behavioral changing practices to reduce their transmissions. The app also has a Symptom Checker, and provides information on pre and post-natal care as well as general nutrition. IT News Africa quotes Ralph Simon, Mobilium’s CEO:

Our goal is to provide for mobile users in Africa a free, all-access health resource platform that informs as well as encourages safe behavioral practices that in turn will help reduce the transmission and infection rates of AIDS, malaria and TB.

But all of this helpful software is useless without hardware on which to function, and Samsung has stepped up to the plate. The South Korean company’s Africa branch will include the Smart Health app on its future mobile devices launched for the continent. Android is the increasingly dominant operating system for mobile device usage in Africa, so it makes sense that Samsung Africa is taking the lead on the hardware side of this mobile health software project. And just in time: tuberculosis has recently become a more aggressive health problem in Africa.