Fondation Pierre Fabre

Using mobile technology to improve the health of pregnant women, newborns and infants at national scale

Main beneficiary country:
South Africa

About the sponsor

South African National Department of Health

South African National Department of Health (NDOH) - Project and Strategy Lead.
Johnson & Johnson and Elma Foundation as funders.
Grand Challenges Canada as funders of work around MomConnect sustainability. 
Baby Center for expert content partner and, Jembi Health Systems, Healthenabled, and HISP for technical implementation partners.
Mobile Network Operators have discounted their services.

Sector: Organizational: Communities, public authorities, NGOs, associations, foundations, etc.

Country of origin: South Africa

The organisation has:

Full-Time Equivalents
Service providers

Initiative overview

Healthcare themes targeted

  • Mother and child health
  • Nutrition
  • Sexual and reproductive health
  • Vaccination

Stage of development:

  • Routine project/operational

Area where initiative is utilised

  • National (in one country only)

Initiative start date

  • 08/20/2014

Initiative end date

  • 05/12/2017


Financing method

  • Private (private investors, crowdfunding, philanthropy, etc.)
  • Government agency (i.e AFD, USAID, etc.)
  • Intergovernmental or international agency

Economic model(s)

  • Subsidies

About the initiative

While South Africa has cut down maternal deaths since 2009, its current rate of 119 per 100 000 in 2017 is very far from meeting the international commitment to cut maternal mortality to less than 70 deaths per 100,000 births by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Innovative efforts are essential to get back on track.

MomConnect is integrated into the central health information systems to present decision-makers with control interfaces and dashboards to ensure that feedback from mothers reaches the highest levels of government. Available in eleven languages and multiple mobile channels, MomConnect can be accessed by a wide range of pregnant women and mothers throughout the diverse country of South Africa. Feedback loops are integrated within the platform to improve service delivery at critical points.

Launched in August 2014, MomConnect is a South African National Department of Health (NDOH) initiative that uses mobile technology to improve the health of pregnant women, newborns and infants at national scale. Through the platform, every pregnant woman in South Africa can register to receive free, informative, stage-based messaging via SMS or WhatsApp for her pregnancy up to the second year of her baby’s life. MomConnect also provides access to a text-based Helpdesk and the ability for women to rate the service they receive at the clinic. Ratings and questions are sent directly to NDOH officials who respond to the queries and ensure that a high level of service is available at every clinic. Some of the key statistics of the programme are: 95% of clinics in the country have registered 3 million women. This represents ~80% of those giving birth in National Health facilities nationwide. There are also 1 million active users every month. Over 30,000 nurses have been registered on the supporting NurseConnect programme. Our platform uses multiple mobile channels, including USSD, SMS, and WhatsApp, to communicate with registered mothers. Data collected through these channels is then passed through a Health Information Exchange layer to the central DHIS2 system. The information and data is stored at the local level to ensure data privacy.

Fields of application:

Health professional training - Information, education and communication for behaviour change (IEC)

Target audience

  • Healthcare professionals and structures (hospitals, healthcare centres/clinics, health networks)
  • Pregnant women
  • Young children (0-5 years)

Initiative objectives

  • Decreased mortality
  • Decreased morbidity
  • Reduced suffering
  • Improved treatment

Key figures

3000000 Number of beneficiaries since launch

12000000 Number of users per Year

Materials used

  • Cellular (mobile) phone
  • Smartphone

Technologies used

  • Mobile telecommunications (without data connection)
  • Internet

Offline use


Open Source


Open Data


Independent evaluation

evaluated independently


Baby Center

Academic entities: Universities, research laboratories, etc.

Jembi Health Systems and HISP

Industrial: Startups, enterprises, etc.

Johnson and Johnson

Academic entities: Universities, research laboratories, etc.

Health Enabled

Industrial: Startups, enterprises, etc.