ITU, WHO launch m-health initiative

Fiona Chau
18 Oct 2012

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have formed a partnership to use mobile technology to fight disease.

The new “m-Health” initiative, announced Wednesday at the ITU Telecom World 2012 in Dubai, will aim to use mobile technologies such as text messaging and apps to combat non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

Non-communicable diseases are some of the leading causes of death and disease in both developed countries and emerging economies alike. They dominate health care needs and expenditures in most developed as well as most low and middle-income countries.

NCDs cause an estimated 36 million deaths every year, including 14 million people dying between the ages of 30 to 70, the ITU said in a statement.

Using mobile telephone technology, m-Health practices can help save lives, reduce illness and disability, and reduce healthcare costs significantly, the UN agency added.

Through the Initiative, ITU and WHO will provide evidence-based and operational guidance to encourage partners worldwide, especially governments, to implement m-Health interventions to address prevention and treatment of NCDs and their common risk factors – tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and the harmful use of alcohol.

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