Grameen Foundation has launched an initiative to determine how best to use mobile phones to increase the quantity and quality of antenatal and neonatal care in rural Ghana. Funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Mobile Technology for Community Health (MoTeCH) initiative is a collaboration with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the Ghana Health Service.

MoTeCH is aimed at developing mobile services using mobile technologies for pregnant women, their families and health workers. The idea developed out of a research seeks to engage the pregnant parents more during the course of the pregnancy so that they will seek more antenatal care.

MoTeCH is also targeted at health workers who provide the primary health care for patients in developing countries. The workers use mobile phones to enter data such as when they have seen a patient and what kind of treatment these patients received. Data is then compiled to more easily track patients.

How it works
Expectant mothers register by providing phone number, the name of the area in which they live, their estimated due date, and their language preference.

The pregnant women will then receive prenatal and neonatal information about their pregnancy (e.g., milestones in fetal development), the location of the closest health facility, and specific treatments that they should receive during their pregnancy (e.g., tetanus vaccination).

Alerts for specific actions (eg. Its time for an antenatal visit), sometimes filtered to reflect the personal pregnancy history of a specific pregnant mother.

Health workers are also able to determine the number of expectant mothers who have received proper antenatal care and health administrators can have statistics on antenatal care in specific geographical areas.

Services will also be created that allow an expectant mother to send health related questions via SMS and receive an automated response that is relevant to their question. Once her child is born, the mother will receive messages and information about essential vaccinations for her child and how to manage critical childhood illnesses.