The indispensable phone

'Why do people have money for a phone, but not for healthcare?'

We have heard this question many times while working on the development of the mobile health insurance. It sometimes indeed hard to believe that almost everyone in Kenya, rich or poor, has a phone within arm's reach. Or that more people worldwide have acces to mobiles than clean drinking water, electricity or healthcare. But it is exactly this mass adoption of simple phones that now enables a true revolution in the fields of finance, energy and healthcare.

The phone salesman explains

Mobile phones have quickly become indispensable in the lives of Kenyans. Not only for contact with friends and family, but also for paying, saving, finding work and plying trade. Almost every aspect of economic life now goes via the mobile.

Take Thomas Manyeki for example. From his car, he sells telephones to people in the poorer neighbourhoods of Nairobi; a trade where his own mobile is indispensable. In the video below he explains why.