Norwich business transforming women’s lives in developing countries through text messages

Focus group in South Africa for MomConnect project. Photo: Content Consultants

Focus group in South Africa for MomConnect project. Photo: Content Consultants - Credit: Content Consultants

A Norwich-based company is spending the week in South Africa to help improve the lives of mothers living in developing countries.

Daphne Metland in South Africa for the MomConnect project. Photo: Content Consultants

Daphne Metland in South Africa for the MomConnect project. Photo: Content Consultants - Credit: Content Consultants

Content Consultants used International Women's Day and Mother's Day to expand its work to transform the lives of others.

They use an old mobile phone and 140 characters to empower countless women around the globe.

In many developing countries there is better access to simple mobile phone technology than there is to clean water.

Text messages have been sent giving evidence-based health advice that can transform, or even save lives.

Meera and Vihaan. Photo: Content Consultants

Meera and Vihaan. Photo: Content Consultants - Credit: Content Consultants

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Content Consultants are using their specialist behaviour change expertise, so far they have helped millions of women and babies in low resource through a range of projects.

Director, Daphne Metland and head of behaviour change, Gayatri Koshy are working on expanding and improving the current programme used, MomConnect.

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During their time in South Africa they are meeting both experts and users to make the new range of enhanced messages as helpful, effective and engaging as possible to the women most in need.

Mrs Metland, said: 'Projects like this are absolutely vital to giving the right advice to vulnerable women and empowering them to make good choices for themselves and their children.

'We have the medical experts and the behaviour change skills to transform lives through seemingly simple messaging services.

'MomConnect alone reaches 700,000 women in South Africa a year, giving free support to pregnant women and new mums who would otherwise have little to no care.

'As a result more women now access antenatal care, there is better HIV diagnosis for their babies and fewer babies are born at a low birthweight.'

It's not just text messages that are transforming lives, Content Consultants has delivered a series of audio messages to help women in India's poorest slums. The mMitra project is a free mobile voice call service that provides information on preventive care and simple interventions to reduce maternal and infant mortality and morbidity in urban India. The voice calls are in the local dialect, and are sent weekly or twice a week.

Meera's story:

The mMitra project gave vital help and reassurance to Meera through pregnancy, premature labour and after her son was born.

Her husband felt that the messages were so important in supporting her to look after their son Vihaab that he has now brought her a separate phone.

Meera knew to go to hospital when she went into premature labour because of the advice she had been sent. She also knew that her son might be in an incubator, so when she came round after having an emergency caesarean, she felt reassured.

Meera breastfed Vihaan, having read this was important, especially for a small baby. After her mother-in-law put mustard oil on Vihaan's cord stump, Meera prevented it from becoming infected. Taking advice from the mobile messages to wipe off the oil and clean it properly with boiled water so that it healed.

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