Mom connect is a National Department of Health initiative for registering a pregnancy. The programme is a cell-phone based application for easy accessibility. Pregnant women can register themselves, or be registered by either a community health worker or at a facility by a healthcare professional. After registering, the women receive regular free messages to keep them updated about the stages of their pregnancy, get reminded about routine medical follow ups that help them to better understand and use healthcare services.
In the messages, women are encouraged to undergo screening of ailments such hypertension, TB and HIV to name a few. The programme also enables the registered women to voice their opinion about the services provided to them at local healthcare facilities.
The mom connect programme was launched on 21 August 2014 at K.T Motubatse clinic by the honourable Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi. The programme runs throughout the country and FPD was mandated to train and implement it in the all districts that are currently supported. It was initially piloted on 1 July 2014 in three Tshwane district clinics and rolled out in all districts as of the 1st September 2014. The initial stage was to train all Technical Assistance roving mentor teams who thereafter cascaded the training to all supported districts including Tshwane, Nkangala, Capricorn and Vhembe. About 2 475 healthcare workers were trained on Mom connect including nurses, doctors, allied workers, counsellors, community healthcare workers, facility partners (M2M) in Tshwane and Beyond Zero and Afri-Care in Eastern Cape.
Since the inception of the programme, FPD has registered 11 122 women (4 658 in Tshwane, 2 807 in Nkangala, 1 304 in Capricorn and 2 353 in Vhembe). Interviews conducted with some of KT Motubatse nurses showed that after registering the women, nurses were saving a lot of time through the rest of the woman’s pregnancy.
Women were less likely to come to the clinic unnecessarily and were more empowered which enable them to ask specific questions regarding their pregnancy.
The general comment by Maternal and Child Health Lead, Cordelia Mapempeni was that, “the individual commitment in the use of Mom connect application will be a game changer for most of our poorly performing MCH indicators”. Involvement of community health care workers is key, if the programme is to be sustained.
- Foundation for Professional Development, www.foundation.co.za.