UN bodies urge use of SMS and apps in fight against NCDs - Mobile World Live

UN bodies urge use of SMS and apps in fight against NCDs

19 OCT 2012

Two UN bodies, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), have launched a new initiative called m-Health that wants to see mobile services, particularly SMS and apps, help combat the spread of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases and chronic respiratory diseases.

The ITU and WHO says their initiative will provide guideance that is “evidence-based and operational” to encourage governments in particular to implement mobile health initiatives, with a focus on prevention and treatment of NCDs and common risk factors, including tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and alcohol abuse.

The new initiative follows a UN general assembly meeting a year ago to discuss NCDs, an event during which mobile phones were highlighted as a tool to fight such diseases.

SMS has already been particularly important in prevention campaigns conducted around the world, for instance in regard to smoking.

In terms of action, the ITU-WHO says it will build on current projects, such as the Global Adult Tobacco Surveillance system which uses mobile phones to gather data on tobacco use across 17 countries. WHO and ITU is also testing mobile solutions with member states.

Existing initiatives will feed into the new effort which will initially run for four years.

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Richard Handford

Richard is the editor of Mobile World Live’s money channel and a contributor to the daily news service. He is an experienced technology and business journalist who previously worked as a freelancer for many publications over the last decade including...

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