Using mobile technology to improve knowledge, coverage, continuity and access to maternal, newborn and child health services in South Africa: Integrating OpenSRP into the MomConnect Program

Organization: 
WITS Reproductive Health and HIV Institute
Organization Location: 
Johannesburg, South Africa

In South Africa 41% of maternal deaths in 2013 were attributed to HIV. Despite high skilled birth attendance (84%) and near universal attendance of ANC (94% having 1 visit), only 56% of women receive the recommended four or more visits and only 32% attend their first ANC session prior to the fourth month of pregnancy. The objective of this project is to improve knowledge, coverage, continuity, timeliness and access to maternal, newborn and child health services in two sites in South Africa through the integration of demand (MomConnect) and supply side (OpenSRP) digital platforms. MomConnect -– the first mHealth program to be introduced at scale in South Africa – will be expanded from pregnancy registration and stage-based messaging to include an expanded version of the Open Smart Register Platform (OpenSRP). OpenSRP is being implemented in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh as a mobile health platform that allows community health workers to electronically register and track population health. Implementation in South Africa will expand OpenSRP to include follow up of HIV services during pregnancy and postpartum, and comprehensive community-based maternal and newborn postpartum disease identification and referral. If successful, this project will provide a blueprint for the optimal use of technology for improving early ANC utilization; HIV treatment; maternal and newborn postpartum illness identification, management and referral; and ultimately, maternal and child health outcomes.

See video