Mobile health initiative to support Maternal care in Tanzania


 By Janita Ferentinos:
A new mobile health  campaign Wazazi Nipendeni (Parents Love Me) was launched in Tanzania. Wazazi Nipendeni is a multi media campaign that aims to operationalize CARMMAT by empowering pregnant women and their partners to take the steps necessary for a healthy pregnancy and safe delivery. The campaign integrates all safe motherhood health areas, including early and complete ANC attendance, malaria prevention, the prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV (PMTCT), individual birth planning and safe delivery.
A unique SMS component is an integral part of the Wazazi Nipendeni campaign. Pregnant women, mothers with babies up to 16 weeks and their supporters can send the word “mtoto” (child in Kiswahili) to the short code 15001 free of charge. After registering, users receive a range of free messages covering all aspects of safe pregnancy and early child care. All messages have been approved by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and tuned to the specific month or week of pregnancy or age of the baby. The service offers the registrants time sensitive reminders for ANC visits, SP doses for prevention of malaria as well as information on testing for HIV, nutrition, individual birth planning and much more. In the first week the SMS service received over 20,000 requests for registration, which went up to 30,000 during the second week of its existence.
Wazazi Nipendeni is a partnership led by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare Reproductive and Child Health Section in coordination with the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP), the National AIDS Control Program (NACP), the Health Promotion and Education Section, and the mHealth Tanzania Public Private Partnership. The campaign is funded by the United States Government through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The media campaign was developed by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communication Programs (JHU•CCP) while the SMS component was developed and is managed by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and the CDC Foundation’s mHealth Tanzania Public Private Partnership. Other implementing partners include Jhpiego, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Mwanzo Bora Program, CCBRT, Tunajali project, PLAN International, Aga Khan Foundation, and various other projects.
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