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With the doctor-patient ratio in the Arab world standing at one to 10,000, the region should resort to mobile health, an expert said on Wednesday.

Citing the example of Germany, where the ratio is one doctor for 600 patients, Fahed Al Oreifi, a consultant at the Saudi-Based Mobile Health Management Company Ltd., said Arab states should focus on mobile health.

Also known as mHealth, mobile health refers to the practice of medical and public health supported by mobile devices. mHealth applications include the use of mobile devices in collecting community and clinical health data, delivery of healthcare information to practitioners, researchers, and patients, real-time monitoring of patient vital signs, and direct provision of care (via mobile telemedicine).

"There is an increasing need for healthcare services and mobile health can address that. It can also reach out to the underprivileged in several areas," Oreifi noted during a session on the second day of the 37th GSM Arab World Conference and Forum.

According to the Global Mobile Health Market Report 2010-2015 posted on the company's website, there will be 1.4 billion smart-phone users in 2015 and 500 million of them will be using mobile health apps.

This technique helps cover more people with healthcare services, he said during the conference, hosted by Umniah.

Participants also discussed several issues related to the opportunities of growth in mobile money in the Arab world and increasing the revenues of telecom operators through facilitating the use of roaming services for subscribers.

Representatives and decision makers from the GSM Association, the telecom industry and mobile operators from 20 Arab countries are taking part in the conference.

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Quelle/Source: Middle East North Africa Financial Network, 23.06.2011

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