[Use Case] My Healthline, SMS-based health advice and information hotline in Cameroon

25 March 25 March

Cameroon faces huge public-health challenges.

There are only 0.077 physicians per 1000 population (compared to 3.18 physicians per 1000 population in France), and roughly half of the country’s population lives rurally. In addition, sexually related diseases, including HIV/AIDS, represent a key public healthcare challenge. The sensitive and often ‘taboo’ nature of these issues makes addressing them difficult because individuals may feel too intimidated to discuss them with their family doctor.

My Healthline is a SMS-based medical advice service that was jointly launched by the Cameroon Ministry of Health and Orange.

The service was designed in close cooperation with local doctors to ensure that public healthcare priorities are addressed, notably issues around sexuality, contraception, HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections. Since its launch, the service has been extended to include all medical subjects.

Orange Cameroun customers are able to access personalised advice from specialists by sending their questions via text message to 929. Orange anonymises all questions and transmits them to a team of doctors and nurses. Answers are provided within one hour.
The service is available in two official languages, French and English, and also Pidgin, the main local Cameroon dialect.
My Healthline provides quick, easy, anonymous and confidential help via text message and can be accessed by 6,500,000 Orange Cameroon customers, representing more than a third of the country’s total population.

Congratulations on “My Healthline”, I am a young practitioner in Cameroon, and I find the concept very interesting. Let me know if I can help!
Dr Pouth, doctor

Benefits

The originality of the service is that customers can send and receive health information and advice without revealing their identity. The issues addressed may be socially sensitive, for which people need reliable information and advice. The anonymity of the service enables customers to overcome feelings of inhibition that they may have around seeking help on these sensitive subjects.

An additional advantage of this SMS-based solution is that even customers living in rural areas, where the signal strength of the mobile network may be low, are still able to access the service.

My Healthline customers
Thanks, I am very grateful.
Many thanks for the reply, it is very encouraging.
Thanks for the opportunity you’ve given us!
My Healthline customers