The South Africa Department of Health (DoH) has been developing a national mHealth (mobile health) strategy to create an enabling environment for implementing mobile-based health interventions in programming for HIV and other programmes to improve health outcomes for people. MEASURE Evaluation–Strategic Information for Africa (MEval-SIFSA) has provided technical assistance in developing this strategy and implementation plan.

High infant and maternal mortality rates in South Africa led the national Department of Health (NDOH) to address maternal and child health challenges. MomConnect is one component of these efforts, a model mHealth project in South Africa offering support to pregnant women through mobile phone technology using education messages, with the aim of improving mother and infant survival.

This free, national, and comprehensive system delivers targeted health information based on pregnancy stage to pregnant and postpartum women. It enables women to ask questions and establishes a feedback loop to improve services at public healthcare facilities.

MEASURE Evaluation Strategic Information for South Africa (MEval-SIFSA) helped implement the initiative, supporting operations and project management through seconded staff, messaging and registration support, operations research to improve the program, and integration of a help desk within other help desks of the health system. The project also conducted a data security assessment to determine compliance to best practices and principles and found gaps in 11 of 13 categories of assessment, which made the system information vulnerable to serious disruption.

Operations research identified factors impeding implementation about six months after launch. Only when training materials and methods were adapted was MomConnect able to achieve its target of registering one million mothers. Limited connectivity at some times of the day was a partial reason for this gap. To overcome this challenge and ensure that mothers were registered, the health department accepted a booklet in which the mother’s details were recorded for digital registration at a more suitable time.

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How MEval-SIFSA’s MomConnect Interventions Contributed to mHealth Strategy Implementation – A Learning Agenda Assessment in South Africa

MomConnect Operational Research: Capacity Building to Increase Registration Rates at Clinics

MomConnect Security Findings and Recommendations

New mHealth Service for Pregnant Women in South Africa

Systemic Barriers to MomConnect’s Capacity to Reach Registration Targets – A Process Evaluation

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

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Filed under: South Africa , Child Health , MHealth , Data , Maternal Health , HIV/AIDS , MEval-SIFSA
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