SMS is the new black

A review of mass market mobile apps

One million text messages a day to help stop Aids

Posted by Admin on October 27, 2008

A new scheme has been launched in South Africa to help stop the spread of HIV and Aids. The scheme, called Project Masiluleke, involves sending millions of messages to the population as part of a ‘Please Call Me’ (PCM) service. The texts then contain numbers to call if the recipient wants more information or is worried that they might be infected.

In South Africa there are a reported 43m mobile phones, out of a population of 49m, so using a mobile service makes a lot of sense as a way to reach the general population.

And HIV and Aids is a big problem in South Africa. The United Nations reports that there are 6million people in the country with HIV (that’s over 12% of the population), with 350,000 people dying each of year of Aids-related diseases.

Let’s hope that it can have an affect and that those quite scary numbers can come down.

To me, this is a perfect example of the power of the mobile phone and also of SMS. By using a service that just about every mobile subscriber is familiar with you can reach out to far more people.

I hadn’t heard about PCM messages before, but according to the same article on the BBC they are common in Africa. They are a text meesage that can be sent by some with no credit left, asking a friend to call them. A very clever use of converting text messages to voice calls and very important in countries like South Africa where most mobile users are on pre-pay deals.

You can read more about this from the BBC’s article here.

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