South African researchers to make use of the country's extensive mobile network to better connect people to healthcare.
Chronic lifestyle diseases, including hypertension, are rising in South Africa, where nearly 12% of people have high blood pressure, a leading cause of death and disability worldwide which improves the risk of heart attack and stroke as well.
How to make use of mobile phones in a South African way
The South African mobile network has excellent coverage, therefore could be used in healthcare to improve health consciousness.
Local and international experts created the SMS-Adherence Support Trial (StAR) which includes a library of messages that can be used as reminders or warnings. The system has proven to be useful in keeping people in and improving their experience with healthcare.
The content of the SMS messages is diverse: they can remind people to take their medicine, come to an appointment or have their attention to possible side-effects. Other messages try to induce conversation in the family about illness or they simply wish happy birthday to the recipient.
SMS messages are sent in many different local languages and dialects, included English, Afrikaans and Xhosa.
After a 5-year trial period, which involved 1300 people, the project is nearing the end. According to participants, the project improved their feeling connected and increased their motivation to adhere.
Nice results to influence healthcare policy makers.
For 25 years Meditech is committed to decreasing the risk of adverse cardiovascular events due to hypertension and coronary heart disease. The company is one of the worldwide leaders in manufacturing 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitors and Holter ECG devices.