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Orange Cameroun, Health Ministry Launch Mobile Service For Health 

The mobile telecommunications network company, Orange Cameroun and the Ministry of Public Health have launched a hotline mobile service for health issues called My Healthline. 

The service was launched after the signing of a convention between the General Manager, GM, of Orange, Elisabeth Medou Badang, and the Minister of Public Health, André Mama Fouda at the Yaounde Hilton Hotel on May 9.
My Healthline is an innovative service of Orange which seeks to bring solutions to Cameroonians, especially in the domain of health, but only Orange subscribers can benefit from the service by sending an SMS to 929. The SMS costs FCFA 200.
Elisabeth Medou Badang said, for a start, they will begin handling topics on health related issues like; malaria, HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, and sexuality or contraception. She said, with time, Orange and the Ministry Of Health will increase the number of topics.
She revealed that during the exercise of texting the message and receiving the response from the health expert, anonymity of the client is guaranteed. 
“Your number will be translated into a code so that nobody will know who asked the question and you’ll receive the answer the same day in a space of an hour,” Medou Badang said. She, however, added that she knows people will be afraid to ask certain questions because they don’t want people to know the health issue that they are grappling with. 
“Our goal is to improve the health conditions of the citizens, irrespective of whether they are living in urban or rural areas,” she went on, saying that as things evolve, so will the price of the service. 
“We are in an industry where prices are going down and down every time. So, rest assured that even the price will go down as well. We started with price because our aim is to improve access,” she stated. She said if the FCFA 200 for the SMS is a limitation, they shall work on it. 
The Orange GM highlighted that the company has been working with the Ministry of Public Health for many years on different topics in order to improve on people’s health conditions and 8,000 patients have benefited from the Orange campaign, so far.
“During our last event, we built an Orange village where we had to refurbish a whole clinic, supplied water and equipped everything. We have decided to go a step further on this commitment by signing a 5-year contract to strengthen this commitment in a more formal way to support the Ministry with anything related to mobile health,” she reiterated.
Badang said they believe that mobile health is a good opportunity for countries like Cameroon to improve access to health and health conditions of citizens. She said it is their responsibility to support the Ministry of Public Health and the World Health Organisation to fight against poliomyelitis which is a very serious issue. 
André Mama Fouda, on his part, expressed gratitude to Orange Cameroun for the convention and the launch of the new innovative service, My Healthline. He said the service is a priority because when one has good health advice at the appropriate time, it is possible to save their life. 
“But I will like to say that this service doesn’t replace the formal consultation with a Medical Doctor,” he reiterated.
Mama Fouda said it is not possible to receive drug prescriptions through My Healthline service, but advice. He added that if an individual has a problem concerning a sexually transmitted disease or pregnancy, for instance, it is possible to get a feedback.
The Minister said the bank of questions will gradually be enriched through the different questions people send to the database. He stated that the new service will permit the Ministry to promote good health.
This is the first time Orange Cameroun is launching this service in Africa and in Cameroon. This service is launched at a time when there are only 0.144 Doctors for 1000 inhabitants. 
 
By Marriane Tabi Enow

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