Media releases


Monday, 12 February 2018

Supporting mothers and mother-to-be through technology

Maternal health messaging service MomConnect has provided health-related information for 1.8 million South African mothers via SMS since its launch in 2014 and has grown into the largest programme of its kind in the world, to be implemented by a government on a nationwide basis.

The lauded South African National Department of Health initiative has been made possible thanks to various private partnerships including one with Cell C which, over the past four years, has donated more than R30 million in kind towards MomConnect by providing heavily discounted SMS and USSD support.

MomConnect is helping to support South Africa’s Millennium Development Goals, which aim to reduce maternal and child mortality through strengthening primary healthcare. MomConnect’s services are free to the user, and messages are available in all of South Africa’s 11 official languages.

Cell C is well known for their care and support of women and, as one of the country’s leading information and technology companies, it was a natural fit to get behind this government initiative which is having a huge impact on the ground and changing lives of mothers and babies for the better.

MomConnect’s objectives include the electronic registration of all pregnancies in the public health system as early as possible and to send targeted health promotion messages to pregnant women to improve their health and that of their infants. After the babies are born, new mothers continue to get SMS messages for up to a year with advice on the baby, breastfeeding, immunisation, family planning for the mother, oral rehydration during diarrhoea and check-up periods at the clinic.

Thanks to the remarkable success of MomConnect, the Department of Health has also introduced the Nurse Connect Programme, an extension of MomConnect, to support nurses and midwives in their daily work. It is aimed at engaging health workers and improving the care given to pregnant women by the more than 10 000 nurses registered on the platform. It provides free maternal and child health messaging, designed specifically for healthcare workers and which are more detailed and technical than the messages sent to mothers through MomConnect.

Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi has previously stated: “Programmes like MomConnect and NurseConnect create vital links between healthcare providers and new and pregnant mothers. These links are the best way to reduce the incidence of premature births and to reduce both infant and maternal mortality rates.”

The number *134*550# is the one-stop-line for all pregnant mothers to dial for MomConnect where they can get all the information they need. 

Says Suzette van der Merwe, Managing Executive Corporate Social Investment at Cell C:

“This is a wonderful service which has been able to reach mothers around the country thanks to the ability to leverage the high penetration of mobile phones in South Africa. It has actively made a difference in reducing maternal and child mortality as well as improving the quality of care offered, and Cell C is delighted to have played such an important part.

“Women empowerment and support women of all ages is at the foundation of Cell C’s ethos. That is why Cell C is passionate about this campaign and has supported it for the past four years”.


About MomConnect

MomConnect is a collaborative pilot project between the National Department of Health and many other organisations, including the Praekelt Foundation, Jembi Health Systems, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), mHealth Alliance, GSMA, CHAI and Soul City. The Department also works closely with all the mobile network operators in South Africa.

Go to: http://www.health.gov.za/index.php/mom-connect?id=206

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