Khalifan Ramadan is one of 300,000 Tanzanian registrants who has benefitted from Tanzania's Maternal Health and Early Child Care Text Messaging Service. In its first year, the Healthy Pregnancy, Healthy Baby Text Messaging Service sent more than 21 million free text messages advising pregnant women, new mothers and their supporters on a comprehensive range of maternal health and early childcare topics.
“I subscribed to the Healthy Pregnancy, Healthy Baby Text Messaging Service because we badly needed this information,” said Ramadan. “About 3 or 4 messages come to my phone every week. They give me a lot of (maternal health) advice. This is our first pregnancy. It is easy to do something wrong, but these messages inform us how to do it right.”
According to high maternal, infant and childhood death rates, Tanzania is one of the most dangerous places in the world to give birth and to be born. The objective of the campaign is to promote healthy pregnancy and early childhood care behaviors across the country with the dissemination of critical knowledge and information. The service delivers official Government of Tanzania Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MoHSW) developed and sanctioned messages incorporating topics including prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS; antenatal care; family planning; malaria prevention; nutrition; danger signs; individual birth plan; and postpartum care.
The implementing mHealth Tanzania Partnership team attributes the campaign's effectiveness to the partnerships behind it. Coordinated by MoHSW, the mHealth initiative operates on a well-integrated partnership model for sustainability and success.
“The service is truly an example of the perfect implementation of expertise sharing and pooling of resources,” said Muttah Saulo, mHealth Tanzania Public Private Partnership project manager of the service.
The initiative’s successful first year has made it clear to partners that it should remain available and continue to expand in breadth, depth and accessibility.