Bringing science and development together through news and analysis

  • Developing countries tap into text messaging

Shares

Mobile technology has developed at a fast pace and found applications in diverse areas from wildlife conservation to health. But the humble text message is still the method of choice for many people.

The unprecedented growth in the mobile market in developing countries is largely due to a vibrant recycling market and low-cost phones, with innovative mobile manufacturers introducing various mobile types to the markets.

But since most people use old handsets, rather than up-to-date technology, text messaging has become the medium of choice for communication.

Introduced in 2005, FrontlineSMS is a messaging hub that allows non-profit organisations in developing countries to manage two-way bulk messaging by attaching a mobile phone to a laptop computer.

FrontlineSMS is being used by grassroots non-profit organisations in over 40 countries for a variety of activities, including healthcare in rural settings. In Malawi, 100 mobile phones are being used to communicate with 600 community health workers in the Namitete area to monitor drug adherence of tuberculosis patients and trace patients.

There may be better technologies in the near future, but text messaging remains a powerful tool for many organisations and individuals as a prime source of communication in the developing world.


Link to full article in BBC Online

Republish
We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.