Vodacom, a pan-African telecommunications company, in partnership with Mondia, a mobile technology company, have announced the rollout of a maternal mobile health service across the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Known as Mum & Baby, the service is a free-of-charge mobile health intervention service that provides Vodacom DRC subscribers with maternal, neonatal, and child health information designed to encourage good health practices amongst pregnant women, mothers, partners, and caregivers.

Mondia created Mum & Baby's tailored content in the local languages spoken in the DRC and included expert articles, videos, and information-sharing SMS messages.

"Accessing healthcare services in Africa can be challenging, and Mum & Baby provides a free and convenient way of accessing instant expert advice where it is most needed. The Mum & Baby service leverages Mondia's extensive networks and expertise in content production and curation, and we expect it to continue to deliver positive social impact wherever it is rolled out," said Dr Amadeo Rahmann, Group CEO at Mondia.

πŸ“· Mum & Baby maternal mobile health service in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Maternal mobile health service

The maternal mobile health service launched in the DRC is similar to MomConnect which was first announced in South Africa back in 2014.

MomConnect is a South African National Department of Health initiative that supports maternal health through the use of mobile phone-based technologies integrated into maternal and child health services. It was developed by Praekelt, a non-profit organization that uses technology for social impact, to engage with mothers in partnership with the South African Department of Health.

By 2017 the MomConnect platform was already reporting that it had over 1,8 million mothers registered across South Africa.

Coincidentally, the Mum & Baby service was launched in South Africa in 2017 and by 2018 was reporting that it had 1,2 million registered subscribers.

Socio-economic benefits

A KPMG survey conducted to understand the impact of the Mum & Baby service highlighted some of the socio-economic benefits the service provides in the countries it operates in. These include:

  • Over 95% of respondents reported that they found the SMS messages received useful or very useful for learning new information about their own and their child/children’s health and wellbeing;
  • 98% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they had taken actions to improve their child’s health as a result of the information provided through the Mum & Baby service; and
  • 98% of pregnant women and mothers surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that they had taken actions to improve their own health as a result of the information provided through the Mum & Baby service.

Mum & Baby’s future enhancements in the DRC are expected to include interactive tools including a due-date calculator, an immunization calendar, medication reminder, medication safety information, and other health tools and services.

"Mum & Baby has become our flagship health and wellness brand focusing on motherhood. We are proud of the way in which it contributes to our vision of building communities, bringing health solutions to more lives and promoting good health outcomes" said Vodacom DRC’s spokesperson.

Mum & Baby is expected to be next rolled-out in Lesotho later during March 2021.

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