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Antenatal SMS system trialled in Kenya

By , ITWeb
Kenya , 25 Apr 2012

Antenatal SMS system trialled in Kenya

Pregnant women in Kenya are trialling a system giving antenatal monitoring and support services by SMS .

The project, which is being piloted in the town of Matuu in Machakos County, registers women with health-providers who call and send SMSs to check on pregnant patients to ensure they are in a stable condition. The initiative is as a result of a partnership between the Kenyan Ministry of Public Health and USAID-funded APHIAplus KAMILI.

These organisation provide the women with prepaid mobile phone credit as well, in order to make the checks and to also send the women the relevant information and updates.

The system also reminds mothers-to-be to attend antenatal classes and develop birth plans.

The public health ministry and APHIAplus KAMILI have introduced the system in a bid to tackle the East African country’s infant mortality rate, which is one of the highest in the world at 52.29 deaths per 1,000 live births, according to the CIA World Factbook.

This high figure could be as a result of women in Kenya seeking traditional rather than medical birthing support.

A 2010 survey by the Kenya Service Provision Assessment reporting that 56% of women deliver at home, mostly without any form of trained assistance.

“We want to ensure that the lives of both the mother and the child are safe guarded,” said Dr Jahonga Ruth, reproductive health advisor for APHIAplus KAMIL.

“Using the SMS platform, the mothers can be reminded to attend the antenatal care, and even make individual birth plans,” she added.

The project is to be implemented in 11 counties in the Eastern and Central provinces of Kenya.

Kenya’s Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation has also allocated Sh450,000 per year for five years for the scheme.

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