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Pfizer calls for mHealth to be prioritised

Wants more action to support mobile health in developing countries' ageing populations
Pfizer mhealth alliance ageing

mHealth is a powerful tool for ageing populations in developing countries and should be a priority for researchers, health workers, governments and the private sector, according to Pfizer.

The number of people in the world over the age of 60 is expected to top 2 billion by 2050, with the largest growth coming from low- and middle-income countries.

Such nations, which are also seeing the largest growth in mobile phone ownership, are often unprepared for the health challenges of their expanding elderly populations.

Pfizer's chief medical officer Freda Lewis-Hall said the convergence of an expanding elderly population and increasing use of mobile technology was a moment not to be missed.

“The universal use of mobile devices is one of the greatest social changes of our lifetimes. Within the next year, the number of mobile phones in use will reach 7.3 billion - more than the number of people on our planet - with the fastest growth coming in low-to-middle-income regions,” she said.

“At the same time, we're confronting the daunting challenges of meeting the needs of an expanding elderly population. With these two trends converging, we have tremendous opportunities to tap mobile technology to help us all get old better.”

Lewis-Hall highlighted a number of ways mobile technology could help, including keeping older people socially connected, training health workers, supporting caregivers and enabling remote monitoring.

Pfizer has partnered with the mHealth Alliance on a series of position papers that highlight mHealth for low- and middle-income countries to support people as they get old.

Patricia Mechael, executive director of the mHealth Alliance, said: “Mobile technology holds enormous potential for people at all life stages and particularly as they age.

“But reaching this potential will require coordinated participatory action by a variety of stakeholders, with a focus on understanding the aspirations of men and women as they age, greater financial investment, capacity building, innovation, as well as appropriate use of existing technologies."

11th October 2013

From: Healthcare

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