The simple service has now send over 21 million messages to pregnant women, mothers with newborn babies (up to 16 weeks) and supporters of women, like this father to be.
Those who are just in need of general healthy pregnancy information can also sign up. The objective of the service is to offer men and women – located in every corner of the country and from any income level – healthy pregnancy advice and early childhood care information. This information includes time sensitive reminders for such events as antenatal clinic visits and taking of malaria prevention medication. This information is carefully timed and relevant to the specific registrant, like pregnant women or their supporters. The carefully targeted large range of healthy pregnancy topics, from ANC visit reminders to birth planning and ‘fun’ informative information for all these types of audiences, makes this a unique service. However, there are other important aspects that make this service so special.
According to Muttah Saulo, mHealth Tanzania Public Private Partnership project manager of the Healthy Pregnancy, Healthy Baby – Text Messaging Service,“The service is truly an example of the perfect implementation of expertise sharing and pooling of resources. It is important to understand that the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MoHSW) Reproductive Child Health Services (RCHS) section is the overall leader of the service. Together with many technical partners in the maternal health and early childcare fields the RCHS team provided key input to the development of the messaging service and content and will continue to do so when the service expands with information reaching beyond the age of 16 weeks of a baby.”
The Healthy Pregnancy, Healthy Baby Text Messaging Service was launched in November 2012 with the Wazazi Nipendeni (Parents Love Me) Safe Motherhood multi-media campaign and funded by the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and US Presidents Malaria Initiative, through the United States Agency for International Development.
Also using radio, TV, billboards and posters to promote the free short-code (15001) and the registration keyword ‘mtoto‘(‘baby‘), the campaign directs the public to register and receive the information for free.
Now with over 300,000 subscribers on the platform, the Healthy Pregnancy, Healthy Baby Text Messaging Service is free to use with subsidies paid by the US Government Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With a two-year partnership with Airtel Tanzania, the SMS service reaches a large number of registrants who access it for free.