To improve maternal and newborn health, it’s important to get the right medical information to new and expecting mothers — especially when they live in remote areas where the right care isn’t always easy to come by. That is exactly where Tanzania’s Wazazi Nipendeni campaign (“Parents Love Me” in Swahili) comes in. The free service sends health information and reminders for doctor’s appointments directly to its subscribers mobile phones via text. In the three years since it was first introduced, over 5 million messages have been sent to some 125,000 pregnant women who’ve signed up for the service, many of whom live in distant parts of the country. One is Adelika Kessy, who almost died in childbirth three years ago because she didn’t have routine check-ups and developed anaemia a few weeks before giving birth. Now pregnant with her third child, the 36-year old relies on text reminders for her clinic appointments. The campaign has also started to target men, midwives, and nurses. Pamela Kweka, an official involved in the campaign, explains: “We have realized that engaging women alone is not enough. We need to involve all members of the society to make the campaign more effective.”
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