Tanzania's Safe Motherhood Campaign Reaches Half a Million Registrants

Mobile phone technology has proven to be a powerful tool in Tanzania, where the statistics on maternal and infant mortality have improved over the years but still remain high. 

To help with this public health problem, the ‘Healthy Pregnancy, Healthy Baby’ text messaging service (also known as Wazazi Nipendeni), offers Tanzanians free text messages in Swahili for pregnant women, mothers with newborns up to 16 weeks old and supporters of pregnant women and new mothers. The service also offers an enrollment option to those seeking information, providing Tanzanians with a wide range of information concerning healthy pregnancy and early childhood care. 

The service is supported by the mHealth Tanzania Partnership, led by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Tanzania and operates with support from the CDC Foundation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as numerous Tanzanian and international public and private sector partners. The U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)—through CDC— funded the development of the service and continues to provide financial and technical support for its ongoing development and operation. 

We are so excited to announce that since the launch in 2012, 500,000 men and women received 40 million informative safe motherhood messages and reminders from this campaign. 

Lydia Mwakisambwe (age 35) is 16 weeks pregnant and she registered the moment she realized she was expecting. Lydia learned about the service while listening to a Wazazi Nipendeni radio announcement. The pregnant housewife loves her weekly text messages with information on how to stay healthy. 

This week, I am making a presentation on behalf of our mHealth Tanzania Partnership at the mHealth Summit taking place in Washington, D.C. This meeting brings together a diverse international delegation to explore the limits of mobile and connected health. I am thrilled to be able to talk about important programs like mHealth Tanzania, and demonstrate how far the mHealth Tanzania Partnership has come in five years. 

Find out more about the Wazazi Nipendeni campaign. 

Linda McGehee
Linda McGehee, PhD, RN, is a senior advisor in the infectious disease programs for the CDC Foundation.