The MomConnect helpdesk: how an interactive mobile messaging programme is used by mothers in South Africa


ja-18-252

Author(s): Khou Xiong, Joy Kamunyori, Jane Sebidi

Year: 2018


Xiong K, et al. BMJ Glob Health 2018;3:e000578. doi:10.1136/bmjgh-2017-000578
The MomConnect helpdesk: how an interactive mobile messaging programme is used by mothers in South Africa Abstract:

South Africa’s MomConnect mobile messaging programme, which aims to promote safe motherhood and improve pregnancy outcomes for South African women, includes a helpdesk feature which allows women registered on the system to ask maternal and child health (MCH)-related questions and to provide feedback on health services received at public health clinics. Messages sent to the helpdesk are answered by staff located at the National Department of Health. We examined event data from the MomConnect helpdesk database to identify any patterns in messages received, such as correlation of frequency or types of messages with location. We also explored what these data could tell us about the helpdesk’s effectiveness in improving health service delivery at public health clinics. We found that approximately 8% of registered MomConnect users used the helpdesk, and that usage was generally proportional to the use of antenatal care (ANC) services in provinces (as indicated by number of ANC first visits and number of MomConnect registrations), except in two provinces. Language, category and key topics of helpdesk messages were correlated with provinces. Most users accessed the helpdesk to seek maternal information, and where feedback about health services was provided, there were significantly more compliments than complaints. The MomConnect helpdesk is an important resource providing expectant mothers and mothers of infants with an interactive option for accessing MCH-related information—above that included in the standard MomConnect messages—and advances achievement of the health goals of the MomConnect programme.

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