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The fast spread of mobile phones across low-income countries like India can make it harder for poorer people without phones to access essential health services, new research has suggested.

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The study by Dr Marco J Haenssgen at the CABDyN Complexity Centre and the Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health at Oxford analysed publicly available data from more than 12,000 households in rural India with sick family members in 2005 and 2012.

The study suggests that healthcare services expect more people to use a mobile phone, and that mobile phone users are more assertive when they compete for access to the few doctors and nurses in rural India. In areas where mobile phones become more common, people left behind have more difficulty accessing healthcare services.

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