Digital Moms envisioned for Better Healthcare in Africa
In this era of digital technology, a new initiative that aims to improve maternal and child health and nutrition in sub-Saharan Africa is being launched in September 2014. The mobile telecommunications association called Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA) in partnership with,Gemalto, a digital security company has set this off the ground. The moms will be registered and will then receive nutrition and healthcare support through mobile technology, a service that will be provided for free.
Other companies that have joined the initiative include MTN and Samsung, who will provide support to over 15 million pregnant women and mothers with children under five years old. And will be targeted to sub-Saharan African countries like Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, and Zambia. The new partnership means greater access to healthcare for pregnant moms and women across Africa.
The project will involve Local healthcare workers obtaining vital information from mothers and mothers-to-be in each of seven targeted countries and register them.
Craig Friderich, director of health at GSMA in Cape Town, South Africa said,
We know that there’s a huge penetration of mobile across Africa but we also understand that a lot of the very vulnerable women don’t have access to those phones. We know that the access is likely through someone in their household or family members. So, we’ve tried to make sure that the services will be available across all handsets and across all mobile channels. And by that we mean SMS….so really stretching across the continuum of basic phone, through to feature phone, and then on to the higher end smartphones.
Smart messages give greater phone access
Smart message service is an ambitious undertaking that will work in African countries, says one of the partners. Jeremy Osborne, Gemalto’s business development director said that
“The smart message service is an interactive messaging solution which uses SMS as a barrier creating a…user interface,” says “An important part is that this runs on all handsets because it’s based on the SIM card itself. What this means is you now have a tool that is very convenient to use for either surveys or promoting services. So in a case like this, you could use a tool like this to provide very effective access to mHealth services, or gain insight from the population on mHealth or related matters,”