Bill Gates writes about how scientists are exploring ways to use cell phones to deliver critical health care to people in developing countries.
Peter Lillehoj and Chih-Ming Ho of the University of California, Los Angeles, received a grant to develop a disposable malaria biosensor based on a SIM card platform. The SIM card-biosensor will allow malaria detection to be performed using a cell-phone, which will make diagnostic testing more widely available in rural and remote areas.
Terry Ferrari of World Vision will be field testing the use of two cell phone modules that will help community health workers in Mozambique caring for pregnant women and newborns to assess, to take action, and to refer cases with complications and emergencies. Another mobile-phone based tool being developed by Marc Mitchell of D-Tree International uses clinical algorithms to quickly identify women at risk during labor and delivery and assist with emergency transfer to a hospital. If these tools are successful, they could significantly reduce maternal and infant mortality rates.