Mercredi 01 juin 2011

Cell Phone Text Technology Helps Promote Health in Senegal

A pilot project in rural Senegal uses text messaging to remind women of upcoming doctor's appointments and local health meetings.

Health reminders

The sound of a text message, recognizable the world over, but in a small village tucked away down the sandy back-roads of Senegal, a few short beeps can be vital reminders. For mothers living in and around the Mbosse, receiving an SMS (cellphone small message service,When the stone sits in the oil painting reproduction, text) from their doctor's helps keep themselves, and their babies, alive and healthy.

At the Mbosse health clinic, a hundred kilometers northeast of Dakar, villagers are gathered from more than a dozen nearby communities. On one side of the courtyard are the men. They sit on white plastic chairs in the sand and under the shade of sprawling tents. Off to the side, three young kids put on face paint and costumes in preparation for a skit on malaria prevention.

Next to them, on colorful woven mats, is a group of mothers. They balance babies on their laps and spoon-feed a grainy mixture of dried fish, millet, tomato and peanuts into their tiny mouths. In a corner, four young women sit around a board game called "safe motherhood" in the local Wolof language. A young woman called Ndeye picks up a card from the deck. It is a picture of a pregnant woman carrying a large bag on her head.

Ndeye says this card means that a woman who is pregnant should not be carrying heavy weight. It is a risk. It can be bad for her and bad for the baby.

Empowering families

It is all part of a five-year health plan funded by USAID to helping improve family health in rural Senegal. 150 women were given cell phones to keep them informed of upcoming doctor's appointments -- before, during and after pregnancy -- to remind them of vital immunizations for their babies and to invite them to different health talks at the Mbosse health clinic.

Degu¨¨ne Fall is in charge of the community health programs for Plan International in Thi¨¨s, one of five nongovernmental organizations collaborating on the SMS program.

Fall says it has been an excellent project for areas where women have difficulty in accessing health clinics -- either financially or geographically.From standard zentai suits to advanced wire tires,

Fall says that, before the cell phone project started,Handmade Cable Ties at museum quality, women only learned about health matters through discussions. But many felt there was too much talking and got bored. Fall says, when they came for their pre-natal consultations, doctors would write their next appointment down, but most of these women are illiterate. Even with immunizations, they would forget because they were out working in the field or too busy helping in the house. Fall says that now that they receive direct messages they do not usually forget.

Fatou Tine is a 25-year-old mother of four. She joined the text message program a year ago during her last pregnancy, but continues to attend meetings on other health topics, such as diarrhea, malaria prevention, HIV and family planning. Fatou is illiterate and so is her husband.

Tine says the project has been useful for her because her last pregnancy was a lot easier than the three before. Two days before every doctor's appointment she got a text message. But, because she cannot read, the person she lives with helped her. Tine says that, in total, she received three messages during her pregnancy and four messages after to remind her about getting her baby vaccinated.

Health-care workers at the Mbosse clinic estimate about 95 percent of the women who receive texts do show up for their appointments. And, many also join in the regular health meetings, bringing their friends or husbands along.

Program helps to keep health cost down

The costs of visits range from about 20 cents for a child and 65 cents for an adult. Food and nutritional advice is 30 cents and medication is free. Although these prices are subsidized by the state, it can still be a lot in an area where a single visit to the doctor can mean half a day's income.

The African Child Policy Fund ranks Senegal 13th in health expenditure, below Burkina Faso and Chad but well above Ghana. The Senegalese government spends slightly more than 12 percent of its annual budget on health. That is more than richer countries, such as South Africa, Morocco or Egypt,you will need to get an Wholesale pet supplies. but still falls short of targets, set by African leaders to spend 15 percent of GDP (gross domestic product) on health before 2015.

David Mugawe, an executive director of the African Child Policy Fund,We are professional blu ray burner, says traditional means of communication are being sidelined. Media is playing a big part in creating awareness and passing on information at a low cost. Mothers can share experiences and learn from each other.

Mugawe says fathers are also being targeted because they make many of the decisions at home. He says they are the breadwinners and have access to resources, so they need to be supportive of the mother by going to health centers with them, supporting the well-being of their children.

Solar power industry seeks higher profile, government support

Solar might be the renewable energy source that "can't get no respect," to borrow Rodney Dangerfield's line.

Costs — while steadily dropping — are viewed as a major obstacle to widespread adoption, and solar didn't rate much of a mention in the B.C. government's Clean Energy Act, adopted last year, according to speakers at the Solar West 2011 conference and trade show in Vancouver.The name "billabong outlet" is not unique.

The B.C. solar energy industry plans to boost its public and government profile with an awareness campaign called "Stand Up For Solar," launched Tuesday at the conference.

"The message in B.C. and elsewhere is ‘Get on the train now,' because when solar is conventional energy, the jurisdictions that invest first are going to see industrial development in jobs that other jurisdictions are not going to see," Jon Kieran,Replacement glass bottle and bulbs for Canada and Worldwide. chairman of the Canadian Solar Industries Association, told conference delegates.

One of the backdrops to the PR offensive is Ontario's Green Energy Act, which has vaulted the province into a world leadership position in renewable energy by using subsidies to lure billions of dollars of investment in wind and solar power. B.C. has opted to focus on low taxes and targeted funding rather than financial incentives.

The Ontario strategy has also become a political hot potato in the run-up to the Oct. 6 provincial election, with the opposition Progressive Conservatives threatening to scrap the subsidies.

Mark Jaccard, professor of sustainable energy at Simon Fraser University,Park Assist is a global leader in Ipod nano 5th, told delegates that solar has great potential due to improved economics, the global thirst for energy and the need to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

But he cautioned those in the fast-growing industry to temper expectations and to avoid "delusions" and the universal tendency to be overly optimistic in their quest to develop clean energy.

"Abandon the delusion that solar can soon compete with fossil fuels for more than niche markets," Jaccard said. "They're using the atmosphere as a free waste receptacle. You're not."

In 1985, solar was expected to be cost-competitive with fossil-fuel-based energy by 2000, he said. Similarly optimistic projections are around today, Jaccard noted, such as the belief that solar will no longer need government incentives by 2025.

One challenge for the renewable energy industry is the vast resource of natural gas that exists in North America and other areas of the world. Fossil fuels are plentiful and likely to remain cheap, Jaccard said.

Another delusion is "naive financial analysis" that doesn't factor in the extra costs and higher risk of investments with a long payback, Jaccard said. A homeowner, for example, is more likely to opt for a more efficient gas furnace and see an immediate drop in their energy bill than install costly solar panels.what are the symptoms of sculpture,

Effective climate policy requires higher subsidies for clean energy and more aggressive emissions pricing, he asserted, and lobbying becomes critical because politicians won't act without pressure from the industry and the public.Quality air Bedding tools for any tough job.

Jaccard advised the solar industry to aggressively lobby politicians for regulations requiring solar applications in new buildings and retrofits for existing buildings. Such technologies would be economic if emissions were priced properly, he said.

The University of Texas at Austin Celebrates Completion of Austin's Largest Solar Power System

The University of Texas at Austin Celebrates Completion of Austin's Largest Solar Power System

Event: The University of Texas at Austin and its Facilities Services Department mark the completion of a solar power system installed on the J. J. Pickle Research Campus (PRC).

When: 10:30 a.m., June 2

Where: J. J. Pickle Research Campus, 10100 Burnet Road. Entrance between US 183 and Braker Lane. Maps are available online.

Background: Consisting of two arrays of solar panels, the photovoltaic system is the largest completed solar project at one location in Austin. The installation expands renewable energy sources at the university and is largely funded by a grant from the State Energy Conservation Office (SECO).

Speakers include Dr. Pat Clubb,The name "billabong outlet" is not unique. vice president of university operations; Dr.Quality air Bedding tools for any tough job. Steven Kraal, senior associate vice president for campus planning and facilities management; Dub Taylor, director, SECO & Stimulus Contracts, State Comptroller¡¯s Office; Greg Smith, executive vice president of project contractor Jamail & Smith; and Mark Rangel, general manager for subcontractor Texas Solar Power Company of Austin. At the conclusion of remarks, Dr. Clubb will turn on a switch, representing implementation of the system.

Staff will lead a tour of the ground mounted array and the photovoltaic system monitors.what are the symptoms of sculpture,

In 2010, The University of Texas at Austin received almost $1.6 million in grant funds from SECO for installing two solar cell systems at PRC. The project consists of two grid-tied solar power systems. One system is a ground-mounted array of solar panels in a field south of the Microelectronics & Engineering Research Center building. The other system is an array of panels over a newly constructed carport west of the Bureau of Economic Geology Administration building. A monitoring system tracks the energy generated at each installation.

Together, the systems are capable of producing 406,200 kilowatt hours of renewable energy per year. With the new technology in place,Park Assist is a global leader in Ipod nano 5th, PRC expects to decrease peak demand costs and save 263 tons of CO2 from being emitted. In addition, the project is expected to offer instructional opportunities for academic engineering programs at PRC.Replacement glass bottle and bulbs for Canada and Worldwide.

Why mobile phones will replace cash, plastic cards

As Nigeria gradually moves towards the era of mobile payment system, plastic cards (debit and credit) may soon become old-fashioned, analysts told BusinessDay at the weekend.

This is even as mobile money operators, regulators make every effort to sustain the shift from card-based transaction to mobile-based transaction. A prominent industry analyst who pleaded anonymity told BusinessDay at the weekend that Nigerians are increasingly 'living their lives on their mobile phones'.

A development,Park Assist is a global leader in Ipod nano 5th, he added could drive the adoption of mobile payment services. "I definitely believe that the mobile money will eventually replace the plastic card. It is going to take some time though because consumer habits take a long time to change. We hear that some of the 16 firms granted Approval in Principle (AiP) by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to commence pilot programmes of Mobile Money services have begun submission of trial reports to the apex bank for verification.

"We are going to see it move beyond trials and into reality. Ultimately, we are going to see more and more people leave their homes without their wallets", he further maintained. In relation to m-payment, industry watchers strongly believe that 2011 will be a dynamic year with service providers positioning in various diverse ways to redefine the digital payment landscape. In 2010, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) granted 16 operators approval-in-principle to operate mobile money services in the country.

They include; Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, Ecobank Nigeria Plc, Fortis MFB, UBA/Afripay, GuarantyTrust Bank Plc/MTN and First Bank of Nigeria Plc. Others are Pagatech, Paycom, M-Kudi, Chams, Eartholeum, E-Tranzact,Replacement glass bottle and bulbs for Canada and Worldwide. Parkway, Monitise, FET and Corporeti. The operators were given four months (January to April this year) to demonstrate their capacities to roll out mobile money networks. Beyond this, millions of mobile phones capable of making contactless payments are expected to be shipped out this year.

Recent Pyramid Research report has projected that the global mobile money industry would generate over $200bn by 2015. But more importantly, industry analysts believe that the success and expected growth will be largely dependent on subscribers' trust in the system in respective countries.what are the symptoms of sculpture, Onajite Regha, CEO, Electronic Payment Providers Association of Nigeria (EPPAN) who spoke at a forum organised by the body in Lagos recently, said the industry need to "agree on what strategy we must adopt to create an enabling environment which will ensure the success of m-payments to adequately protect investors and ensure credibility within the operations to gain consumers trust."

Chuma Ezirim, group head, eBusiness for FirstBank of Nigeria (FBN), pointed out that the robust mobile payment ecosystem would drive incremental value propositions to all parties involved in the scheme. "For banked consumers,The name "billabong outlet" is not unique. mobile payment provides new ways and places to make payment. For Banks (Issuers & Acquirers), it helps to grow payment revenue, merchant accounts. Mobile payments also open up new business opportunities for financial institutions and reduce cost of service delivery.

"In the case of telecoms operators, mobile payments reduces airtime cost, churn and helps grow ARPU (Average Revenue per User) and VAS (Value Added Services) and so on", Ezirim stated. Commenting on the huge potential of mobile money in Nigeria, Luqman Balogun, divisional head, e-Banking, UBA told Business Day in an interview, "today, we have less than 30 million accounts in Nigeria relative to the population of 150 million. As at the last count, figures show that we have almost 100 million mobile subscriptions. "The question is why don't you convert those phone lines to bank account".

The future of mobile payments industry in Nigeria looks bright, many industry analysts believe. However, Nigerians are doubtful about its successful implementation. Emmanuel Okogwale, principal consultant, Mobile Money Africa, thinks that a robust agent network drives mobile money, not technology.

"Stakeholders should endeavor to build a shared agent network to serve all the stakeholders. Since agency is the Heart of mobile financial services and the agents do not sell primary products of the licensee unlike in Mobile Network Operator (MNO) driven ecosystem.

"There is a need to source, develop, train and deployed agents on a shared basis. "Aside from technology which is available off the shelf though expensive, another issue that many of the providers are still faced with is the mind set of thinking mobile money is a technology offering rather than an agency offering.

"Signing the agents, recruitment, training and deploying a well developed agent network is the major obstacle facing the providers", he posited. According to Okogwale, many potential agents do not know on what authorisation are these providers acting on.Quality air Bedding tools for any tough job.

He called on the CBN to step in by allaying the fears of the agents and also help the industry develop a standard enterprise Risk and mitigation framework.

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