Why BabyMed? To transform Maternal & Child Health

The World Health Organization recognizes that a lack of information is a contributing factor to women not getting the care they need. A first-time mother is especially vulnerable. She is younger, less experienced, and often feels isolated and less empowered amid her husband’s family. Mobile messages delivered via voice or text are a simple way to inform, support, and educate her with accurate health information.

For first-time mothers, the information delivered increases their knowledge, helps to develop their confidence, and connects them to life-saving commodities. While phones cannot and should not replace doctors, nurses, or community health workers, the ubiquity of these devices offers new mothers the opportunity to have a healthy pregnancy and give her baby the best start to life.

By delivering vital health information through a mobile messaging service and a mobile application, BabyMed supports simple health interventions that have been proven to reduce maternal and child deaths. These include: Birth spacing, regular antenatal care, exclusive breastfeeding, handwashing, use of insecticide-treated bed nets to prevent malaria

BabyMed is part of our larger goal to not only build awareness and educate but also drive action. Pregnant women and mothers may delay seeking care or taking appropriate preventative or curative action; may not be able to access appropriate health services; or they may access health facilities unnecessarily thereby increasing the load on the already overburdened health system. Knowing where to go for care and when are integral to maximizing health care access and utilization and reducing maternal and child mortality. BabyMed aims to increase knowledge and improve health seeking behaviour among pregnant women, guardians of young children and women of child-bearing age

The voice/text messaging service is unique. It offers text messages, incorporating a broad range of complementary topics, including:

  • Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV/AIDS;
  • Antenatal Care;
  • Family Planning;
  • Malaria prevention;
  • Nutrition (for mother and baby);
  • Danger Signs;
  • Individual Birth Plan;
  • Postpartum Care;
  • Fun Information (such as ‘fetal development’).

BabyMed’s messages are personalized and use the “ages and stages model” to send women messages in accordance with their gestational stage. BabyMed will send pregnant women three messages per week, and their supporting companion (these may be husbands, mothers, or whoever the pregnant woman trusts, relies on and spends most time with) one message per week. The messages fall into three categories: early identification of warning signs and risk factors, growth and development of the baby, and messages that foster empowerment and a healthy environment.