I recently came across an interesting charity that encourages all of us to recycle our cellphones for a good cause. Hope Phones’ goal is to advance rural healthcare support in Africa. Transferring the value of your old cellphone to their accounts allows the non-profit organization to purchase technology appropriate for use in third world countries. This ABCNews video story provides excellent background information.
The School of Medicine has been involved in telemedicine in Africa for several years. Similar to Hope Phones, Penn’s Botswana-UPenn Partnership uses cell phones to promote medical care in rural Botswana. While internet access is limited in the country, cell phone networks are well supported. Projects have allowed local clinicians to transmit photos and patient information to specialists for quick diagnosis and treatment turnaround.
Even Penn Libraries have gotten involved. In 2011, staff in the Biomedical Library assisted the Botswana-UPenn Partnership in the installation of medical reference tools that could be used in the field to quickly look up the latest in diagnosis and treatment for any number of medical conditions. These Android phones were then given to medical residents at the University of Botswana.