A new mobile application, MomConnect, will allow all pregnant women in South Africa to sign up for a free SMS service which provides information and advice on pregnancy.
In addition, it can be used to notify the Department of Health about poor services at clinics.
According to a story at BizCommunity, the free program for pregnant mothers has been launched by the Department of Health, with funding from the U.S. government and Johnson & Johnson.
Health Minister Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi said the messages “will advise women about what they should do during their pregnancy and encourage women to start ante-natal classes and care early.”
“We will say ‘Mom, since you registered with us you are now 13-weeks pregnant. This is what you must do, this is where you must go and this is what you must avoid.’ Even after the birth of the baby, we will continue to send the messages for at least a year. to monitor progess of the mother and child,” Motsoaledi said.
Motsoaledi said pregnant mothers will also be able to relay messages to the Department of Health to either complain or compliment the services they received at healthcare facilities.
“This will allow us to monitor our clinics and take corrective action if any clinics are providing inadequate services,” he added.
In preparation for the launch of MomConnect, the department with the help of its development partners has trained 10,300 health workers nationally to assist pregnant women.
“In the coming weeks, every health facility in the country will have at least one person who is trained and whose job it is to assist and register pregnant women,” the Minister said.
Four cellphone operators including Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, and Telkom Mobile are offering a 50 percent discount on SMS calls sent to pregnant mothers.
Pregnant mothers and health workers at one clinic — the Motubatse Clinic — are lauding the initiative.
Said expectant mother Patricia Mokese: “As mothers we have lot on our mind at home and work, and sometimes we forget to go to the clinics on time. The project will help us especially when something you don’t understand happens to you during the pregnancy. We can send a message for assistance,” said Mokese, who is expecting her second child.