An interview with Floor Montanus, business developer at Text to Change about data collection projects via SMS.
- Why is it done?
- How does it work?
- Who is reached?
“I subscribed to the Healthy Pregnancy, Healthy Baby Text Messaging Service because we badly needed this information” says Khalifan Ramadan, who is one of the 300,000 Tanzanian registrants the service counts after its first year. The implementing mHealth Tanzania Partnership team states that partnerships are key for an effective mHealth initiative.
Khalifan benefits from the well working integrated partnership model that is at the core of the Healthy Pregnancy, Healthy Baby Text Messaging Service. Thanks to the sharing and pooling of resources it is well promoted across the nation and offers a large range of maternal health and early childcare topics. “About 3 or 4 messages come to my phone every week. They give me a lot of (maternal health) advice. This is our first pregnancy. It is easy to do something wrong, but these messages inform us how to do it right. Also, I don’t need to pay for the service,” says the enthusiastic user.
On November 30th, Arjen Swank and I (Neema Iyer) had the opportunity to celebrate World Aids Day (WAD) 2013 along with several of our partners and over a thousand participants at the Jubilee Park in Tamale, Northern Ghana. The venue, an outdoor arena, was already filled with several young people when we arrived, some in school uniforms while others rode their bicycles and laughed with their friends.
65% of new HIV infections occur in long-term relationships and not many people are aware of this, according to an opinion poll TTC conducted for World AIDS Day in Uganda.
Over the last few years, we’ve heard that HIV infection rates have been dropping. And it’s true in a lot of places, but not in Uganda. For the first time in 20 years HIV infection rates are rising! The number has actually gone up from 6.4 percent infected in 2005 to 7.3 percent today. Therefore tables are turning on the Uganda HIV/Aids success story.
Today we are very pleased to announce being awarded by Grand Challenges Canada, together with our partner Akvo. We will receive $100.000 for our innovative and result-driven idea to use mobile technology for clean water and healthy lives in the developing world. With this funding we will set up a pilot for 15.000 people in Uganda. The goal is to empower people to live healthy, enable children to go to school and contribute to global wealth.
Check out this cool video which explains the award-winning concept:
The tobacco industries in Uganda have expressed concerns about a recently launched campaign to regulate production and consumption of tobacco and tobacco related products. Farmers across West Nile, the major tobacco growing region in Uganda showed willingness to shift from tobacco growing to other alternative crops that can generate them money. This can be evidenced by a recent survey and situational analysis conducted by TTC in the District of Maracha.
How much do the people of Kenya like fish? Research Africa was asked by Larive International to investigate this burning question in the Nairobi and Kisumu areas. The population and incomes in Kenya are rising, while the nation is quickly urbanizing and food habits are changing. These changes demand more protein rich food. Fish farming seems to offer a solution.
In Kenya, socio-economics are changing rapidly. The population is about to rise from 41 to 55 million by 2020 and the nations GDP (USD) is about to grow in this same period from 35 to 59 billion. Local suppliers are unable to meet the growing food demand and, consequently, prices are rising. The need for animal protein is intensifying, as well as the nutritional deficiency levels among a significant part of the Kenyan population. What could offer a solution?
Sixty percent of the African population is under the age of 35. This makes African youth the best development asset in coming decades. We need to know their needs and aspirations and take them into account as we set the post-2015 development framework for Africa.
Due to the growing use of mobile phones and text messaging in third world countries, Text to Change (TTC) developed a menu-driven information system via SMS. Together with FHI 360, TTC started a pilot about contraceptive information in Kenya and Tanzania. After this successful pilot the menu-driven system was used in multiple other campaigns.
In most parts of Africa the total fertility rates have been declining. However in Tanzania and Kenya they remain high. These high rates can be the result of the critical shortages of trained health personnel in the two countries. That’s why educating people via text messaging is very useful and important. This innovative solution can provide people with the essential health information they need.