Friday, June 12, 2009

UN to use phones in Aids fight

The United Nations has started a health promotion initiative that will reach out to Ugandans via mobile phones.

The 10-day initiative will be piloted in Jinja where 10,000 people will be used as a sample to demonstrate the potential use of mobile phones in health promotion, according to Ms Olivia Nyakarungi, an official of the UN Communication Group. The initiative, Texting4Health, will see the targeted people participate in a short health quiz using text messages.

“These messages are free to the consumer and are designed to serve as a public health information campaign,” Ms Nyakarungi said in a statement. In Uganda, more than one million people are suspected to be infected with the virus that causes HIV/Aids.

The results of the Texting4Health demonstration will be shared with ministers from UN member states at the Annual Ministerial Review session of the UN Economic and Social Council in Geneva in July.

Ms Nyakarungi’s statement said Text to Change, a Dutch non-profit organisation, will provide its mobile telephony platform.
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