The Department of Health (DoH) is expected to launch MomConnect next month in commemoration of National Woman’s Month.

MomConnect is part of a project that seeks to register all pregnant women in the country for an SMS service that will provide information and advice on pregnancy. It’ll also act as a channel to notify them about poor service.

“I am happy to announce that on August 21st 2014 we shall launch the MomConnect Project. MomConnect will seek to register by cellphone all the pregnant women in any one year in our country,” said Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi.

Registered pregnant women will receive an SMS appropriate to their stage of pregnancy. MomConnect will also encourage the expecting mothers to start ante-natal care, test for conditions such as hypertension, HIV/AIDS and diabetes very early on in their pregnancy, as well as emphasise preventing mother to child transmission at 14 weeks.

Motsoaledi said the project will ensure that pregnant women are not just passive recipients of healthcare but active participants in claiming healthcare from public health facilities.

“The women will also be able to send us SMS messages at no cost to themselves (as a Please Call Me), to inform us of their concerns and experiences in our healthcare facilities,” said Motsoaledi.

Motsoaledi added that the campaign will be taken to all districts to inform nurses that pregnant women will have the power to demand good treatment. He also warned health workers that the implications of MomConnect are that they will be faced with one million connected women.

After the babies are born, new mothers will continue to get SMS messages for up to a year. “Only that this time, the SMS messages will include advice on the baby – like exclusive breastfeeding, immunisation, family planning for the mother, oral rehydration during diarrhoea, check-up periods at the clinic etc,” explained Motsoaledi.

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