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Using text messages to combat counterfeit drugs, promote health in Africa


From preventing maternal deaths in rural villages to providing care at a reduced cost, cellphones are becoming key tools in improving health care in Africa. Now mobile phone providers and IT firms in Africa are launching text messaging services aimed at preventing disease and battling against substandard and fake medicines. Business Daily Africa reports:

Under its e-health package, [Telkom Kenya] has entered a deal fronted by its parent company France Telecom with a pan-African SMS-based solution provider mPedigree to fight against counterfeit medicines in Africa, starting with Kenya and Cameroon.

Subscribers will write a verification code hidden on each packet or bottle of medicine. Patients can submit this code via an SMS to check the authenticity of the drug against a database managed in Europe by mPedigree’s partners.


A South African IT firm, Pharos Avantgard, is in the country looking for partners to use their mobile phone application that uses USSD and SMS platforms to monitor and manage medical therapies.

Dubbed M-Nurse, the application is used in South Africa by HIV/Aids patients on antiretroviral (ARV) drugs and also allows third party monitoring to aid early intervention through notifications and monitoring trends.

Previously: Using cell phones to save lives
Photo by Ken Banks

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