Breaking News:

Big Issues, News

Chipatala cha pa Foni: Texting Gives Expectant Mothers a Head Start

0

By Aida Akl/ VOA

You don’t have to speak Chichewa to know what Chipatala cha pa Foni is about, but it helps if you are a pregnant mother or health worker in Malawi.

Chipatala cha pa Foni means health center by phone. Launched by the non-profit VillageReach in 2011, the center connects expectant mothers in Malawi with health workers to receive appropriate care and health services.

Part of the program is a toll-free hotline service called ANC Connect, which “uses the hosted service TextIt to send and receive text messages to/from pregnant women and community health workers,” said Erin Larsen-Cooper, Program Manager of the Health Systems Group at VillageReach in an email interview.

ANC Connect is not a mobile app. “By design,” added Larsen-Cooper, “users don’t need an app on their phone to access [the] service; the service can be accessed from any phone [even basic ones] by registering … via SMS.”

Users simply text an approved keyword to a prescribed code in order to register. ANC Connect then generates appropriate prompts to register the client or set an appointment.

Once in the system, registered users can get reminders and tips about reproductive, maternal and newborn health, information about maternal care and child issues, as well as referral assistance.

“If a client misses an ANC appointment, her community health worker will receive a SMS alert,” said Larsen-Cooper.

The two-way text messaging allows VillageReach to increase the number of pregnant women who receive recommended prenatal care visits and information related to birth planning, including reminders to use maternal health facilities for delivery and follow-up services.

In one case, Elina, a single mother testing HIV positive while pregnant, lived 10 kilometers away from the nearest town and needed information and care. But she did not want to disclose her situation at that point and opted to register with ANC Connect to get the help she needed throughout the term of her pregnancy.

In turn, the service lets community health workers keep track of pertinent information about their patients, such as the date of their last appointment, whether they’ve completed a birth plan, and when and where they delivered their baby.

The pilot for ANC Connect, which started in December 2014, was done in partnership with the Clinton Health Alliance Initiative in rural areas in Malawi’s Balaka and Ntcheu districts, where VillageReach said only about 45% of households have access to a mobile phone.

In that case, Larsen-Cooper said ANC Connect “relies on community health workers to follow-up with women who have missed an appointment” and lets women without phones register through a community health worker who receives notifications of missed appointments on their behalf.

According to Larsen-Cooper, 500 pregnant women enrolled in the pilot program. She said participants experienced improved relations with community health workers as a result of using the service, while health workers were able to visit clients more frequently and follow up with expectant mothers who might not get that kind of care outside the program.

Related Posts

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Mrs Mia inspires DPP senior officials

    In a leaked whatsapp conversation among DPP gurus the blue officials said they wish Mrs Abida Mia who has a hardworking spirit was in their team. The DPP officials which include; Ben Phiri, Ngeme Kalilani and Nicholas Dausi just to mention a few said Abida Mia is an insiration to all women in politics. One…

  • WHERE WILL CHILIMA GET THE VOTES

    What UTM will do is to divide the DPP votes. The scenario will be much the same like the Gwanda and John Tembo scenario in 2004. This gives MCP an opportunity to make the best use of its unwavering supporters, which are over a million. Plus those who are generally disgruntled with DPP and those…

  • Govt withdrawals Vice President’s security detail 

    By Feston Malekezo/ Times Media Malawi Government has withdrawn the Vice President Saulos Chilima’s security detail with immediate effect, the office of the vice president said late Wednesday. “It’s true that today we were informed that the Vice President will not be accorded some of privileges his office is entitled to including his security,” said…

  • Malawi: Long-Term Development Plans Are Essential

    By Tione Andsen Lilongwe — Vice President, Dr Saulos Chilima has hinted that Malawi as a country should stop thinking of short-term implementation of its development agenda. He made the observation Thursday at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe during the launch of Malawi Growth Development Strategy (MGDS) III Mid-Term Review Report. Chilima who…

  • God’s man in State House

    In an exclusive interview with New African, Malawi’s new President, Lazarus Chakwera, outlines his intention to replace the ‘old Machiavellian politics’ with more ethical governance and says he still believes he can honour his election pledge of creating a million jobs. By New African Magazine Like his Biblical namesake, Malawi’s President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera metaphorically came back from…

  • Lower Shire Farmers Dazzle

    Government says Malawi has potential for growth in the agricultural sector as it is endowed with both human and natural resources for improved agricultural practices and socio-economic development. Minister of Agriculture Hon. Lobin Lowe, MP said this when he visited Chikwawa and Nsanje districts on a familiarisation tour to appreciate some of the efforts being…

css.php