“We have millions of young children, babies, dying unnecessarily, hundreds of thousands of women dying in childbirth – most of them unnecessarily – in large part for lack of access to health, lack of access to health information,” said David Aylward
, executive director of the UN Foundation’s mHealth Alliance
. “And while wireless doesn’t solve any of those problems by itself, it is a conduit, a pathway to solve those problems.”
We spoke to Aylward before the Global Health Initiative (GHI) event “New Applications for Existing Technologies to Improve Maternal Health
,” at the Wilson Center earlier this week.
“We’ve gone from a billion subscribers to five billion subscribers in the last six years, and 70 percent of those are in the developing world,” he said. “So almost everywhere you go a woman has a cellphone or has access to a cellphone.”
This access allows women in the developing world to do basic things those in the developed world take for granted, like call for help or set up reminders. The most important thing to think about in the future is to continue empowering women with the tools and knowledge to understand their own healthcare and supporting them with better care.
“All of which are possible in the very near term if we can get the different parties to get together and work on them together,” said Aylward, “and that’s what our mission is.”
Check out the the full event summary from GHI here.