The mHealth Tanzania Public Private Partnership is part of “Wazazi Nipendeni” (“Parents Love Me”) campaign that gives information to pregnant mothers as part of a multimedia campaign.
The campaign provides “informative text messages and appointment reminders in Swahili at no charge for pregnant women and mothers of newborn babies up to 16 weeks of age,” said Sarah Emerson, Country Manager, mHealth Tanzania Partnership, CDC Foundation.
“This service offers also free information to her supporters - such as husband, friends and family - and information seekers.”
Expectant mothers can send the word “MTOTO” (“child”) to 15001 to register, after which they are requested to state which week they are in or the age of their new-born baby.
“This process allows the recipients to receive specific text messages at the time the information is most relevant to them. The service registered an average of 7,000 people per week,” Emerson said.
Other medical bodies have assisted in the registration of expectant mothers and those who have delivered. This ensures the information is passed to those who need it in a timely fashion.
Dr Mwendwa E. Mwenesi, Phones for Health (mHealth) country coordinator was confident of the new initiative. “The government actually has recognised the benefits of using technology for healthcare,” she said.
“The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare is giving a priority to mHealth initiatives and projects, because we have seen what it can do. The text message service Wazazi Nipendeni offers maternal health information and care of newborn.”
The Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA) earlier announced the introduction of Mobile Enabled Community Services to bring basic services including energy, health and water in developing countries through the use of the mobile phone.