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Gates Says Handsets Could Improve World Health

by Tom Moccia | February 4, 2011February 4, 2011 6:00 am PDT

In a keynote address at the mHealth Summit, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates proposed a solution to a problem that has been facing health administrators for as long as anyone can remember.  Registering births, and having parents be diligent about vaccinating children, has been a concern, especially in developing countries, and Gates believes he may have a high tech solution.

Gates outlined a system for collecting biometric information on babies via mobile devices and transmitting that information to a central health registry. The registry would then be used to remind parents about needed vaccinations while the GPS feature in the handset could direct parents to the nearest vaccination center. With these capabilities, medical personnel could also be dispatched to various locations to administer vaccines.

Gates focused on implementing the program in areas like Nigeria and India where vaccination rates are extremely low, but I could see this being implemented in the United States as well. Keeping kids up to date on their vaccinations is a challenge whether they are living in a third world country or the wealthiest nation on the globe.

“If you could register every birth on a cell phone—get fingerprints, get a location—then you could develop systems to make sure the immunizations happen,” said Gates. “As you save children under five, that is the thing that reduces population growth. That sounds paradoxical. The fact is that within a decade of improving health outcomes, parents decide to have less children.”

This new system would be an especially helpful program for those not educated about the importance of childhood vaccinations.  Even in our modern society, there are still those people not familiar with the importance of childhood vaccinations and the complications they can help prevent in the growing and adult years.

This is not something that I think Gates would want to profit from as The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given billions of dollars to non-profit organizations and causes over the years. In fact, they have given so much money to charity they are know as the most generous philanthropists in America.

TechnoBuffalo readers get your thinking caps on and tell me how you would implement mobile technology to improve the health care system in the United States and around the globe.


Tom Moccia

Tom Moccia is a native of Stamford, Connecticut and moved his family west in 2000 and now calls Stockton, California home with his wife and two...

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