It is always exciting when Grand Challenges Canada can mark the anniversary of an innovation, and MomConnect’s 5th anniversary on August 21st, 2019 is no exception. The accessible and relevant health information provided to women through this innovation has been extremely impactful for more than two million new and expecting mothers who have used the platform over the past five years. Given the tremendous traction MomConnect has achieved since inception, the platform is often cited as one of the most successful mobile health platforms in Africa.
MomConnect is an initiative hosted by the National Department of Health in South Africa. It functions as a digital platform where mothers can sign up to receive supportive messaging throughout the stages of pregnancy and as their baby progresses through infancy up to 2 years of age. The messaging addresses subjects such as how mothers can care for themselves and their baby, and health-related questions they may have.
MomConnect’s impact is twofold as it improves both the supply and demand side of health services in South Africa. On the demand side, it engages mothers with trustworthy health information, resulting in higher utilization of health services. On the supply side, MomConnect gathers statistics and insights, to support the National Department of Health’s priority of improving maternal and newborn health. Because the platform is so easy to access, mothers have been highly engaged: since August 2014, there are over 2.7 million registered mothers on the platform.
The success of the app has also resulted in an adjunct app called NurseConnect, a similar informational health platform that directly informs and supports registered nurses at clinics. To date, more than 27,000 nurses have registered.
After five years, MomConnect has many lessons it can share with other innovators looking to grow and develop their projects:
- The importance of alignment with government priorities and investments: for innovators looking to build government partnerships, demonstrating the innovation’s relevance to priority areas increases value added.
- Finding out what works and what doesn’t: while it’s often expected that the first solution will be effective, failures are essential for learning and developing better products and services in the future.
- Be more collaborative: working with different partners can bring new perspectives and strengths to an innovation.
To hear stories from mothers who use MomConnect, watch this video
Congratulations MomConnect! We look forward to witnessing your growth and development over the next 5 years.
*Stats were gathered from an interview with Debbie Rogers, Managing Director of Praekelt.*