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Mobile Phones Grow as a Health Care Tool

Different groups around the world are working to expand the uses for mobile technology in health care. Patricia Mechael is executive director of an organization called the mHealth Alliance. She says mobile phone use is far more widespread that it was only a few years ago. She says there are 6 billion mobile phone subscriptions worldwide. She adds the most rapidly growing markets are those in developing countries.

Patricia Mechael says a lot of work is being done to use mobile technology for mother and child health. She says earlier work had been done to look at mobile technologies that could help control HIV and AIDS.

There is a lot of evidence on mobile phones being used for treatment, compliance and care management. Recently, more than 4,000 people from 50 countries met at the fourth annual mHealth Summit. The summit brings together experts, the organizers call, the mHealth ecosystem.

This includes nongovernmental organizations, governments and the technology industry. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton launched a public/private partnership called the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action, or MAMA, in 2011.

The MAMA program sends messages to mobile phones to educate women about their health. Millions of pregnant women and babies around the world risk of life-threatening illnesses and millions die needlessly every year. Health messages can also be sent to husbands and mother-in-laws and entire families , so everyone can be informed about health issues.

For VOA Learning English, I'm Carolyn Presutti.