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VocalPress: Internet for the Bottom Billion

In rural Cambodia its commonly believed that dengue fever has nothing to do with mosquitoes but is caused but angry spirits yet to be reincarnated. The first step in improving health is the spread of accurate information to those with limited access.

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To understand how VocalPress works have a look at the video above. Below are some examples of how it could be used to address health issues in Caldas or similar areas across the developing world.

Imagine if the citizens of Caldas had real time access to medical specialists and health related organizations throughout the Spanish speaking world. Parents could call a local number and record a message explaining concerns over health of their newborn. A medical specialist working in Spain could listen to the message and respond with appropriate advice regarding nutrition and the prevention of diarrheal diseases.  

A Bogotá based health and education NGO could share information with, and take questions, from teens related sexually transmitted diseases, contraception and pregnancy. Such topics are often considered taboo in rural communities leading to little to no access to reliable information on such subjects. 

Each week an OBGYN in Chile could record a voice blog addressing common issues pregnant mothers face in rural areas. Women from the northern tip of Mexico to the Southern tip of Argentina could then call and listen to the voice blog receiving vital information helping to keep their unborn child healthy.

A local non profit organization can spread information about the benefits of mosquito nets or the dangers of asbestos all across Colombia without the costs and time associated with visiting each rural community. Community leaders could listen to the information as if it were a voice mail and begin spreading the information.

VocalPress will not solve the health issues facing rural populations in the developing world. But with the ability to spread accurate information accessible by anyone with a cell phone, regardless of literacy, citizens can become more informed and start to make decisions to bring to an end some of the most common killers in the developing world all for the cost of a local phone call.

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Great concept, great name :)

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