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In Their Own Words: How Does MOTECH Ghana Help Ghanaian Mothers?

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Posted on April 06, 2011

Jason Hahn is Business Development Manager ICT Innovation, at Grameen Foundation Seattle

In Jessica’s last post she discussed how MOTECH Ghana helps nurses manage their work and care for patients.  In this post I’d like to explain a bit more about the services MOTECH Ghana offers, through the Mobile Midwife application, to pregnant and new mothers and their family members and then let some of those mothers explain in their own words how this helps them. 

What is Mobile Midwife?

“Mobile Midwife” is a service that enables pregnant women and their families to receive SMS or voice messages that provide time-specific information about their pregnancy each week in their own language. This information is a mixture of:

  • Alerts and reminders for care seeking (e.g., reminders to go for specific treatments, such as prenatal care or a tetanus vaccination)
  • Actionable information and advice to help deal with challenges during pregnancy (e.g., tips for saving money for transportation to deliver at a health facility, what is needed for a birthing kit, nutrition information
  • Educational information, including milestones in fetal development, promotion of good health practices, and songs about breastfeeding

Voice messages are delivered in English or local languages. Two languages of the Upper East Region, Kasem and Nakam, were supported for MOTECH’s first implementation, and two languages of central region, Senya and Fante, will be supported in Awutu Senya. SMS messages are all delivered in English.

What does Mobile Midwife mean to Ghanaian mothers?

To answer this question we recently spoke with Theresa and Faustina, two Ghanaian mothers who have used the Mobile Midwife Service.  According to Theresa: “Before MOTECH we used to go to the health facility and sometimes the nurses were not there or they would be busy.  Now with MOTECH we receive this health information through mobile phones in our homes, which is convenient”.  She continued, “I would like to advise my pregnant friends to go to the hospital to enroll into MOTECH, to listen to the messages and also to practice what is said because it helps a lot.”  She ended by telling us, “I used to be scared about pregnancy but now with the messages I am no longer scared and it has taken away my worries and that we feel ok and then the pregnancy is ok.”

Faustina had this to say about Mobile Midwife, “The messages that touched me most are those that tell me that when I stand up for long I should sit down and when I have back aches I should sit down and rest my back against the wall and raise my legs up.  And then they tell me I should eat good food and I realize that this is helpful. And then another message that is helpful is that when they tell me that when I deliver I should give the first breast mil to my baby because this will help the baby.  Previously the first breast milk was expressed out but now they tell us to give that to the baby.  All this I’ve heard is very helpful and this has touched my heart.”

If you’re interested in learning more about our MOTECH Ghana program please read our report on the lessons learned so far.

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