In South Africa, our Maternal Health Platform connects more than a million pregnant women and new mothers to vital services and information through the National Department of Health's MomConnect programme.
In order to improve maternal health and give newborn children the best possible chance in life, pregnant women need to be provided with timely information they can use to look after their health and access services. To truly shift health outcomes, however, national-scale systems are required. Together with the National Department of Health and a group of committed partners, Praekelt.org has developed a platform that serves almost every single pregnant women and health facility in the country.
MomConnect is a multi-faceted programme that creates demand for maternal health services as well as improves the supply and quality of those services. It includes stage-based health messages developed by the National Department of Health with support from our expert partners at Baby Center, a text-based helpdesk that provides answers to pressing questions, a library of health information accessed via a USSD menu, and a service rating feature that allows subscribers to report on the quality of services they receive at facilities. Integrating directly with the national health system – thanks to our partners at Jembi and HISP – MomConnect presents decision-makers with control interfaces and dashboards to ensure that feedback from mothers reaches the highest levels of government.
Over 95% of clinics and health facilities in the country are participating in the programme, allowing over 1 .3 million pregnant women and new mothers to become MomConnect subscribers. MomConnect has sent over 58 million messages since launching in 2014 . Aside from the sheer scale of the programme, one of the most notable achievements is the high level of engagement elicited from subscribers. Over 30% of subscribers have completed service ratings and more than half a million messages have been received and processed by the MomConnect helpdesk.
Together with our partners we are constantly evolving the technologies and strategies that underpin the MomConnect programme. A chatbot for Facebook Messenger is the latest addition to the MomConnect suite and a complimentary programme, NurseConnect, is using many of the same channels and tactics of MomConnect to support nurses and midwives. Thanks to the success of MomConnect, our Maternal Health Platform will soon be deployed in new countries to improve maternal health, including Nigeria and Uganda.
MomConnect is an National Department of Health programme with over 20 partners from the public and private sectors.