This blog was provided by Johnson & Johnson. This program recieved a plaque of commendation in the Innovation/Technology to Improve Health category of the 2015 GHC-GBCHealth Business Action on Health Awards. 

Launched in 2014, MomConnect is a South African National Department of Health initiative that uses mobile technology to educate and empower new and expecting mothers, monitor the quality of health services, and support nurses and midwives.

Women register with MomConnect at their local clinic to receive evidence-based, culturally-sensitive SMS messages throughout pregnancy and up to the infant’s first birthday, timed by estimated date of delivery. Messages advise on the importance of attending antenatal visits and provide information on preparing for a safe labor and tips for newborn care. Each registration is captured in South Africa’s first national pregnancy registry.

Johnson & Johnson has made funding and in-kind contributions to MomConnect, including support to MAMA South Africa – a precursor mobile messaging program launched in 2011 – and content development by BabyCenter, a member of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies.

Critical Success Factors

  • Since August 2014, more than 570,000 women received MomConnect messages and more than 441,000 confirmed pregnancies were registered with the national database – 1/3 of South Africa’s annual live births.
  • 34,887 health workers were trained on MomConnect, covering 95% of public health facilities.
  • MomConnect’s help desk provides a confidential environment for women to ask questions and provide feedback on clinical services. Approximately 3,100 MomConnect users submitted feedback in the last year, with a compliment to complaints ratio of 6:1.
  • In a phone-based survey (n=1,999):
    • 98% said the messages had helped
    • Nearly 81% said they shared the messages with friends and/or partners
    • 80% said the messages helped them remember clinic visits
    • Nearly 77% said the messages helped them feel more prepared for childbirth

Replicability and Scale Up

  • MomConnect will be adding messages for health workers and mothers living with HIV. The program is also exploring expanding the child messages to age 5 and adding messages for partners.
  • Aspects of MomConnect have already been replicated in other countries, including Uganda.

Additional resources: includes flyers, posters and other visuals from the program–wnO7a?dl=0 includes photos from a MomConnect launch event.