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Today is World Aids Day, a day where individuals and organisations from around the world come together to bring attention to the global AIDS epidemic. Mobile phones are increasinly playing a key role in combatting HIV/AIDS, providing public education and information services, patient monitoring and support, data collection, emergency medical services, and even educational games. We have written much on this topic, of immense importance to the world where there are now more than 33 million people living with the disease, making it one of the most destructive epidemics in recorded history. Throughout the day, we’ll feature a few projects that use or have used mobile technology in HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment that stand out.
FrontlineSMS is the first text messaging system created exclusively to address the lack of communication tools that many developing country grassroots NGOs face. By leveraging computers and mobile phones, FrontlineSMS enables instantaneous two-way communication on a large scale.Find more videos like this on FrontlineSMS
Taken together, a handful of numbers are adding up to a powerful HIV/AIDS lifeline along South Africa’s northeastern coast. Of the six million South Africans infected with the disease, just one in ten are currently in treatment. The HIV infection rate in KwaZulu-Natal province (KZN) stands at a breathtakingly 39 percent. Meanwhile, a whopping four-fifths of all South Africans have access to a cell phone.
But a new program called Project Masiluleke—Zulu for “wise council”—is using the 120 characters commonly left over in cell phone text messages to connect South Africans who desperately need testing and treatment with the nation’s HIV/AIDS resources.
Local information and media is one of the areas where mobiles can be an ideal delivery vehicle. Rede Jovem, a Brazilian NGO created 0800 Rede Jovem, or Mobile YouthNet, a project that reaches young people through SMS on their mobile phones with local opportunities and information about what is going on in their communities. Soledad Muniz talked with Alice Gismonti from Rede Jovem about the SMS project.
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