Demanding Better: Demand generation and service provision to save lives at birth in Johannesburg

Wits Health Consortium
Organization Location: 
Johannesburg, South Africa

In South Africa, the maternal mortality ratio is estimated to be 310 per 100000 live births, a number which is high due in large part to many women not attending antenatal care or not doing so before 20 weeks into their pregnancy. Late attendance is due to a number of factors including women's lack of understanding of the benefits. Given the high rates of HIV, TB, and hypertension within South Africa, it is important for these high-risk pregnancies to be identified early. The current project uses two established demand generation approaches - community radio and billboard advertising – to promote mHealth services (mobile ownership rates in South Africa are over 80%). This is combined with expansion of a service delivery innovation - adding ultrasound machines to 4 public health clinics. The demand generation approaches will inform women of the benefits of early antenatal clinic attendance, while also informing them of their rights. Once women get to the clinic a trained health care worker will provide them an ultra-sound scan which will assist with identifying any abnormalities. Additionally, the mHealth component, based on MAMA (Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action) will allow tailored health information to be sent to the phones of women that have been identified as being high-risk. This increases the ability of all women to receive high-quality maternal and newborn health information. It is expected that this intervention will provide ultrasound services to over 32000 pregnant women, increase community rights knowledge and allow every pregnant woman in South Africa to receive high-quality maternal health information through their mobile phone.

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