A mobile phone is one of the latest Information, Education and Communication (IEC) tools that is effectively being used to solve information sharing gaps within the health sector in rural Uganda. In September 2010, Text to Change (TTC) and Health Child began a two year project in Jinja, to “accelerate the uptake of postpartum care and promote the promotion of child health - including early infant HIV diagnosis”, using SMS text and voice technology.
The program targets 450 pregnant women, to improve their awareness of maternal health and to attend at least four antenatal care visits at their local health clinics during their pregnancy. The program also aims to encourage them to take up post-natal care services, which include family planning, full immunization, as well as Prevention to Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) and early infant HIV services.
Text to Change has a flexible platform which can adapt to participants’ communication needs. For example, messages can be sent in English or Luganda, the local language. To overcome any illiteracy issues, Text to Change is going to use Voice SMS Messages, so that recipients receive a pre- recorded message, instead of having to rely solely on a text SMS.
The project is expected to have the following outcomes: (i) the percentage of pregnant women who complete the recommended four visits will increase from 47% to 75%; (ii) women who deliver their babies under skilled care will increase from 39% to 70%; (iii) women who attend post-natal care services will increase from 36% to 80%; and (iv) the number of fully immunized children will increase from 41.9% to 75%.
Text to Change and Health Child have worked together before. In fact this project follows their successful 4-month pilot in 2009/10, on interactive text messaging for health. Text to Change has an increasing reputation for its ability to promote ICT for health care in Africa and has numerous projects such as these around the continent.
Health Child works in close partnership with the District Health Office, lower level health centers, private partners and community persons to implement a wide range of activities, focusing on Early Childhood development which includes child survival, early childhood education, child protection and child nutrition.
Text to Change
Text to Change (TTC) is an award winning, non-profit organization, which was founded in 2007 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. TTC has led the way in using mobile telephony to promote awareness of humanitarian and health-related issues in Africa; it operates in collaboration with NGOs, mobile network operators and other partners in the public and private sector - in countries across the developing world. At present, Text to Change is running projects in eight countries.