Rapid SMS in Burundi
The Rapid SMS initiative is an innovative system based on mobile technology, specially designed for community health workers (CHWs), to improve health monitoring for pregnant women, newborns and young children.
Project start date : 01/10/2016
Beneficiary country : Burundi
About the project
The Rapid SMS project is a free tool that enables rapid SMS (text messaging) to be created for dynamic data collection, logistical coordination and communication from a simple mobile phone.
Using RapidSMS, the community health worker quickly identifies pregnant women and ensures that they attend the health centre regularly before giving birth, thereby contributing to better maternal and child health. They also make weekly home visits to provide families with advice, particularly on nutrition, and ensure ongoing monitoring after birth. This enables them to report vital information such as ongoing pregnancies, neonatal status, potential risks and child nutrition.
The solution helps guide health workers in their visits and examinations, medical centres and hospitals benefit from advance observations to better receive patients, while ambulances are alerted to high-risk situations, promoting rapid response.
The RapidSMS solution is being evaluated as part of a master’s dissertation by Anicet Niyondavyi, supported by the University of Burundi.
The Rapid SMS project solves crucial challenges in maternal and child health. By integrating information and communication technologies (ICTs), it has encouraged health services to focus on providing care for pregnant women, preparing for childbirth and caring for newborn babies. Thanks to the Community Health Workers (CHWs), the link between pregnant women and the health system has been strengthened, boosting the use of medical services. This model, successfully tested in other countries, is designed to solve specific problems in Burundi. In many developing countries, high maternal mortality rates are associated with the “3 delays”: delay in the decision to seek medical care, delay in reaching a healthcare facility and delay in providing appropriate care to patients. By integrating ICTs into healthcare, the project aims to identify at-risk cases and facilitate transport to medical facilities, in particular through reinforced alerts and a responsive ambulance system, in order to offer mothers and children access to quality care.
N/C Full-Time equivalents
1 373 Volunteers
N/C Service providers
Number of beneficiaries since launch