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Lessons About Pregnancy and Motherhood Via Songs on a Mobile Phone?

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Ghana Health ICT4D MOTECH
Posted on October 26, 2009

Jessica Osborne is Program Officer, MoTeCH, at Grameen Foundation Ghana.

As a part of our MoTeCH initiative, we are holding content workshops to learn more about what types of information local women want and need in relation to their health. In Accra, Ghana, Eve’s Pregnancy School has offered lessons about pregnancy and motherhood to women  for over 10 years, and has seen over 2,000 mothers through safe pregnancy and delivery. The founder, Florence, gives bi-monthly classes to pregnant women and mothers; she attended our first content workshop recently and had lots of fantastic input for our program. One of the key takeaways from the workshop was that singing and music is an important part of Ghanaian culture and this class opened with the women singing a local song about womanhood, empowerment, and feminine beauty. It definitely got people excited! Part of the class was then given over to the group chanting “positive utterances” such as “my body is strong”, “i will have a safe delivery”, “my family loves me”, and “my husband loves me”. Teaching was interspersed between these more fun and participatory sessions.

These workshops, along with previous trials of interactive voice response systems in Uganda, have shown that people want the information services that we create to be fun as well as informative – not simply recorded information. As a result we are including some local songs in the audio recordings as a way to engage users. The video below shows a singing group in Vunania performing songs they prepared for the MoTeCH project about ANC, exclusive breastfeeding and importance of male involvement, in both Kassim and Nankam (main local languages). They put these together in just a day and it sounded great!

For your interest, a translation of the songs is below:

NANKAM

First Song: Antenatal Care

If a woman is pregnant and agrees to go for antenatal clinics and takes all the necessary injections, on the day of her delivery she will deliver safely and a healthy baby as well. This will make her husband happy. This is an advice to all pregnant women and potential mothers.

Second Song:  Exclusive Breastfeeding

When you give birth don’t give water to the baby, the doctor said it. When you give birth don’t give water to the baby, the nurse said it. One breast is food for the baby. One breast is water for the baby. Giving the baby good health until six months.

KASIM

First Song: Antenatal Care

If a woman is pregnant, she should attend ante natal clinics for it has great benefits. If you do this on your day of delivery you will give birth to a healthy child and safely.

Second Song: Care Seeking Behavior

The health workers are here for us (the CHOs, community health volunteers and all health workers) to help us and our new born babies. All men should wake up and help us help us achieve this so we can get more help. Men should help their wives go for antenatal care and take their children for child welfare clinics.

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  • Nelly April 16, 2012

    Wow, this sort of reminds me of what I was like early in my rnegpancy with Wombat. He was very desperately wanted and I had only just started to test positive when I had an implantation bleed (was expecting it with Seagull and it never happened) and started freaking out, thinking that I was miscarrying. At some point though, I started freaking out about it and wishing that I had waited another year, as we had originally planned.I found myself feeling really ambivalent about my rnegpancy and thinking that I wouldn't be upset if I miscarried. I started showing really early with both of my pregnancies (as in people were asking if I was well before I got to 12 weeks and was ready to tell them) and I happened to meet a lot of new people while I was pregnant with Wombat. Of course, when you're pregnant, the first thing that people seem to want to talk about is your rnegpancy and it just happened to be the last thing that I wanted to talk about. If I could have gotten away with it, I would have told everyone who asked me about it to "fuck off". To add to it all, I so desperately wanted another boy (I wanted two of the same sex) and had everyone assuming that I wanted to have a girl, which made it that much harder to come to terms with everything.I decided to find out what sex Wombat was at my 20 week scan because I wanted time to deal with my emotions if I happened to be pregnant with a girl. When I found out I was having another boy, it was like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders and I became more emotionally comfortable with my rnegpancy. I have no idea how I would have reacted if Wombat had been a girl, but I'm sure I would have gotten used to it and when you're on that post-labour high and meet your baby for the first time, gender is the last thing you are thinking of.I then had a threatened pre-term labour at 33 weeks and felt really horrible for all the things I had thought about earlier in my rnegpancy with Wombat. I ended up having him at 38w 5d, so I've never been in the "overdue" club, but walking was getting to be a physical impossibility by the end of my rnegpancy. I was having a lot of prodromal contractions (like Braxton Hicks, but regular for up to a few hours, then they just stop) in the few weeks before Wombat was born. I tried every natural induction technique under the sun except for castor oil and none of it worked. It was only when I was able to truly accept that I was probably going to go over 40 weeks that I went into labour. As in, the day before Wombat was born, I decided to stop trying to do anything and just accept that he was going to choose when to come, then woke up to contractions the next morning.Anyway, I think that rnegpancy is a pretty big change to go through on a lot of levels and it takes time to get used to it. I think that the emotions become more complicated in a second rnegpancy too, because you are worried about how your older child is going to cope with it all, you worry that you might not love your baby as much as you love your other child, etc. Different women react to it all in different ways. I'm glad that you came through it all OK. :)