M2M in Africa: A matter of life and death

Published by Telefónica m2m Team m2m General

In 2010, there were 34 million people in the world infected with HIV/AIDS, according to data collected by Avert. Almost 23 million of them live in Sub Saharan Africa, where this epidemic is taking a huge toll.

These certainly horrifying data is more than enough worrisome to spring innovation to seek for a way to mitigate this permanent humanitarian crisis. One of these ways might be the use of M2M.

Back in April, Sequoia Technology, announced the results of its partnership with Telit Wireless Solutions: the successful development of a way for rural medical clinics in Africa to wirelessly receive HIV test results of expectant mothers within days of testing.

The project, funded by the Clinton Foundation and Mozambique's Ministry of Health, has allowed mothers with HIV-positive results to begin anti-retroviral drugs much earlier, thus reducing the chances of transferring the virus to their babies from 40% to less than 1%.

M2M technology is also used to fight less life-threatening diseases, but still dangerous and very extended in Africa, like diabetes, which affects over 7.5 million adults in the continent. Regional governments and healthcare organizations are working with equipment manufacturers to make mobile monitoring devices and applications to help on the treatment of this disease.

The implementation of these solutions is becoming more feasible thanks to the modernization of Africa’s cellular coverage and increasing number of mobile connections, 680 million in the first quarter of 2012, according to Ericsson's sub-Saharan Africa marketing and strategy head, Shiletsi Makhofane.

Makhofane believes that the evolution from 3G to LTE connectivity all over the continent, along with policy and regulatory changes, might be the key to expand the African M2M market potential.

It is not only economic benefits what is at stake: a more mature M2M market and a better wireless infrastructure will be key in order to reduce dramatically the deaths by two of Africa’s most dreaded epidemics. 

Telefónica m2m Team

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