HopePhones: Recycling mobile phones for mHealth overseas

By Brian Dolan

HopePhones LogoFrontline:SMS founder Josh Nesbit emailed in to let us know he launched an inspired mHealth intiative today: HopePhones. The program encourages everyone to recycle their old mobile phones, which are then sold to raise money to send phones to health workers in developing markets likes Malawi.

According to the HopePhones site, "When your old phone is received by the recycling center, it is given a value. We'll use this value to purchase appropriate, usable cell phones for community health workers at the medical clinics. The average donated phone in the US will allow us to purchase 2-3 cell phones for clinics."

"Every cell phone given to community health workers connects distant patients to a medical clinic. A $10 cell phone will give 50 families access to emergency medical care, health information, transport services, and clinic resources," the site explains.

Jen McCabe's Healthcare Management RX blog breaks down the process for donating the phones into five easy steps:

1. Get your old phone cleaned up (remove old media including photos) and cancel the contract with your carrier.
2. Remove the SIM card or you could just power the phone down.
3. Visit HopePhones.org.
4. Print out a prepaid shipping label, affix to your phone package.
5. Your phone heads off to The Wireless Source, which recycles your mobile and gives the phone 'trade-in' value to FrontlineSMS:Medic to purchase appropriate, useful recycled phones for worldwide campaigns using SMS and texting tech to improve healthcare delivery by equipping healthcare workers in developing countries.