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How Information Technology is Helping the World’s Extremely Poor Populations

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The use of Technology has immense benefits for the world’s poor in improving governance and accountability and reducing of corruption.It has been under utilized so far though you do find instances of Information Technology aiding the world’s most poor populations.Mobile Technology coupled with Computing Power is particularly effective in helping fight corruption and improving efficiency.Some instances where information technology has been used is

  1. For Money Transfers   and Mobile Banking – Most of the poor do not have access to financial intermediaries and banks , but now they can use their cheap mobiles to access banking and  making money transfers through SMSes
  2. Accessing Weather and Commodity Information – For a lot of far off farming communities with little access to information, information technology through the use of restricted mobile/Internet devices has helped a lot in getting information about weater and farm prices
  3. Accessing Computerized Land Records – Lots of the places in India don’t have proper documentation on property rights.Information Technology is being used in some parts to alleviate this problem
  4. Call Centres in Extremely Poor Areas – Outsourcing companies are building call centres in far off hinterland areas in order to decrease their costs and provide help to underprivileged people at the same time.

This new technique of finding out fake medicines is  another good use of  IT in helping fight the fake medicine which are endemic to some off parts of the underdeveloped world.

Scratch & Win War Is Waged on Africa’s Fake Malaria Medicines – Bloomberg

At 12:30 p.m. on May 6, Ampem Dankwah sends a cell-phone message from the lobby of a downtown cafe in Accra, Ghana: “GH4F9H84B4.” His text opens a front in the war on sham malaria drugs.

Within 1.2 seconds, Dankwah’s transmission is routed to a Hewlett-Packard Co. data center in Galway, Ireland, where a computer verifies the code and responds, “OK.” It is the first test of a system developed by HP and Dankwah’s employer, mPedigree Network Ltd., to help millions of Africans avoid counterfeit malaria pills with little or no active medicine, Bloomberg Businessweek reports in its May 17 issue.

Under the plan, legitimate drugs will come with a scratch- off panel hiding 10 digits. Consumers will send the code to a widely advertised number, and receive a reply confirming or disputing the product’s authenticity. The system is designed to detect fakes that in some African nations make up half the drugs sold for malaria, a mosquito-borne disease that is the single greatest killer of African children, according to the William J. Clinton Foundation in New York.

“A big advantage of it is that it empowers the consumer,” said Paul Newton, a Vientiane, Laos-based researcher from the U.K.’s University of Oxford who studies counterfeit drugs. Pharmaceutical makers may welcome the development “because it would increase public confidence in medicines,” Newton said in a telephone interview.

HP plans to sign a contract with mPedigree within the next month, said Mick Keyes, a senior official in HP’s chief technology office. The two companies intend to introduce the system with malaria pills in Ghana and Nigeria by December, and may expand later to Kenya, Tanzania, Liberia, Benin and Uganda.

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Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to greensneha@yahoo.in or call me on +913340606492.

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