Text to Change, 2007–2008
People in Africa often lack access to basic healthcare information. Dutch communication and technology specialists Bas Hoefman and Hajo van Beijma, cofounders of the nonprofit Text to Change, realized mobile phones could provide an easy and low-cost method for health communication. Hoefman partnered with a Dutch epidemiologist and the African mobile-service provider Airtel to increase voluntary counseling and testing at Uganda’s AIDS Information Centers (AIC). Participants received via free text message a multiple-choice HIV/AIDS awareness quiz, and winners could receive phone credit or other incentives and were encouraged to visit a clinic or test center. After the first campaign reached 15,000 participants, AIC experienced a 40% increase in visits for testing.
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