Imagine if you could interview a family about their health, enter the information into a PDA, and sync the data wirelessly to a database in an office miles away, ready for real-time analysis—all while sitting in the middle of one of Africa’s largest slums where homes are made of mud and open sewage lines the walkways.
Or imagine if you could deliver health alerts with text messages to tribal chiefs across rural Africa who do not have Internet access but do own a $20 mobile phone. And that same chief could send a text message to report a suspect case of a dangerous infectious disease to health authorities using the same $20 phone.
These scenarios are neither far-fetched nor imaginary. CDC’s International Emerging Infections Program and Kenya’s Ministry of Health (MOH) are using PDAs and cell phones in unprecedented ways to improve Kenya’s capacity to detect, prevent, and control disease.