Telenor plans to take mobile health services to the masses
Telecoms operators need wider spectrum distribution to take mobile health services to the masses, said Telenor President and Chief Executive Jon Fredrik Baksaas yesterday.
“We are aiming to give access to people who don't have an access to medical services,” Baksaas told reporters at the GSMA Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona, Spain.
Baksaas shared his views after a study, 'Socioeconomic impact of mHealth', which was commissioned by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Telenor Group, was shared at the programme.
BCG officials said mobile health technology can offer sizable benefits to all countries, lead to economic growth and promise a better life for individuals. Around the world, healthcare systems are overburdened, costly and incapable of meeting the needs of a growing population, they said.
Baksaas said technology has been changed from generation to generation and the new generation is getting ready to embrace many more services through the mobile.
Citing an example of mHealth in Bangladesh, he said Telenor is working on how such services can be disseminated to people around the world.
Baksaas said more than 6.5 billion people are now using mobile phones; and 1 billion have access to mobile broadband. The number is growing, which means demand for mobile based services will rise, he added.
In Bangladesh, mobile phone healthcare services have saved 40,000 mothers and children's lives a year on an average in the last few years. The mothers receive birth-related information, understand warning signs and could save their lives.
In Bangladesh and Pakistan, a service, called Healthline, provides patients with a simple number to dial for both serious and non-serious medical needs.
In India, mothers can obtain critical information about prenatal health via their phones.
At the same programme, Telenor Group and the Wikimedia Foundation yesterday announced a new partnership to offer Wikipedia free of traffic charges on mobile devices to Telenor customers in Asia and Southeastern Europe.
By making versions of Wikipedia available to 135 million mobile customers, Telenor Group and the Wikimedia Foundation demonstrate a shared commitment to increasing access to the free and open knowledge available on Wikipedia.
Telenor involves millions in Asia through the I-Genius project, which has already reached out to 300,000 Bangladeshi students with a call to explore open knowledge on the internet.
Customers with a Telenor SIM will be able to access a version of the encyclopaedia for as many times as they like in a given period, at no charge, as long as they stay within Wikipedia's pages.