“If you get jelly-like stuff on your underwear, it’s a sign that labour is near. It may be streaked with blood. If you are bleeding, go to the hospital.”
Pulane Kheswa recently received this text message as part of the Department of Health’s MomConnect programme. Started in August 2014, MomConnect delivers text messages to expecting mums geared towards their stages of pregnancy. With Kheswa expecting her first child soon, her phone has been full of what to watch out for her in final trimester. These weekly SMS messages will continue until her baby reaches her first birthday.
She says the messages have been easy to understand and have helped learn what to expect from pregnancy.
Nancy Munyai delivered her baby six weeks ago and says the continued SMS’s have been very helpful.
As of October 2014, more than 100,000 mothers had subscribed to the MomConnect service.
According to Isaac Moremi, facility manager of the K.T Motubatse Clinic north of Pretoria, MomConnect is also supplying the Department of Health with valuable information that has assisted the department to address complaints.
“The information sharing process is very important and I think many adhere to it,” said Moremi. – Health-e News.
[Updated 20 April 4:32 pm: According to MomConnect Project Manager for the Department of Health Dr Antonio Fernandes, MomConnect currently offers messaging in six languages – English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho and Tswana. The programme will be available in all 11 official languages by the end of May 2015. This article originally stated that MomConnect was only available in English. We regret the error. Fernandes added that as of April 2015, 363,000 women were enrolled in the sms programme.]