Tanzania’s Safe Motherhood Text Messaging Service Enters its Third Year with Half a Million Registrants

The Healthy Pregnancy, Healthy Baby Text Messaging Service (aka the Wazazi Nipendeni SMS service) is celebrating a milestone while entering its 3rd year. The service served over 500,000 Tanzanian men and women, whom cumulatively received 40 million informative safe motherhood messages and reminders, since its launch.

So what makes this program so successful? The answer lies in the collaboration of a diverse group of partners. “Each partner takes responsibility for its part in the service implementation, ranging from technical assistance to media promotion and training activities in health facilities. It’s a resilient collaboration as we all share the common goal to improve maternal health and reduce infant mortality. Our partners benefit from this participation, as most use the service as a tool to strengthen their own specific safe motherhood activities,” explains Mr. Saulo Mutasingwa, U.S. Government Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Foundation Project Manager for the mHealth Tanzania Public-Private Partnership program in Tanzania. His organization manages the text messaging service in close collaboration with TTC and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MoHSW). The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) – through the CDC – funded the development of the service and continues to provide financial and technical support for its further development and operation.

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Pioneering Mobile for Reproductive Health

This blog is written by Kelly L’Engle, Behavioral Scientist at FHI 360. A version of this blog originally appeared on the United Nations Foundation’s Global Accelerator blog. You can view the original post here. We re-posted this with permission.

Did you know that 220 million women and girls have unmet needs for family planning? In Particular, Tanzania has one of the lowest doctor-patient ratios in the world — 1 doctor for every 50,000 patients. With those limitations, how are individuals supposed to make informed choices about their health when they can’t access information about their options?

This is a question being asked by the maternal health and global health community.  As studies have shown, improved access to comprehensive sexuality education and modern contraception increases opportunities throughout a woman’s life.  This includes the ability to pursue education and earn an income leading to a healthier life for a woman, her children, and her family.

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From Africa to North America – The Power of Mobile Technology for Development

At TTC, we believe that everyone has a right to high-quality information. And each individual should be able to express his or her opinion. Anytime. Anywhere. Since 2008, TTC has been running behavioral change social campaigns using mobile technology as a bridge to reach remote parts of the world. Since our first mHealth campaign in Uganda, we have expanded to over 17 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America.

In August 2014, TTC officially expanded to North America. In collaboration with Preferred Family Health (PFH), we are extending the power of mobile technology to enhance substance abuse treatment, prevention and mental health services in St. Louis, Missouri, with funding from St. Louis County Children’s Service Fund.  TTC is very pleased to collaborate with PFH, a leader with over 35 years of experience in behavioural health services in the communities they serve, as TTC’s first partner in the United States. This is a unique collaboration as it brings together TTC’s skills, expertise and experience in running mobile for development (m4d) campaigns in predominantly developing countries now to the United States with PFH’s strategic plan to be an industry leader, incorporating innovative experiential techniques and emerging technologies in their behavioral health services. This shows the versatility of mobile technology as a powerful tool for effective development and social change.

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TTC launches HIV/AIDS prevention campaign in Congo (DRC) with Cordaid & Vodacom

Today we sent out 100.000 text messages to people living in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Why? Because it is World Aids Day and every hour, nearly 240 people contract HIV in this world. Yes. Every. Hour.

World Aids Day
On this important day, organizations and people all over the world unite to fight against AIDS. The importance of such a day is underlined by some other staggering numbers: an estimated 35 million people live with HIV worldwide, of which approximately 3.4 million are less than 15 years old. More than 39 million people have already died from the virus, which makes it one of the most destructive pandemics in history. Despite improvements in HIV treatment, there is still an important job to do on raising awareness and enhance understanding about this terrible disease. There are also steps to take in the process of teaching people on ways of preventing getting it and to separate myths from facts.

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The Tobacco Control Campaign launches the Wall of Fame

According to the Uganda Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2013, 1.3 million people aged 15 years and above currently use tobacco products. In addition, an estimated 2.2 million adults are exposed to second-hand smoke at home at least monthly. This indicates that many people are at risk of contracting non-communicable diseases. Therefore as part of the Tobacco Control Campaign that is run by TTC, we have launched the Tobacco Control Wall of Fame.

The Wall of Fame
The Wall of Fame is an online webpage that features pictures and testimonials of various tobacco control advocates in Uganda, including Members of Parliament, local artists, journalists, students and radio personalities among others. The purpose of this wall is to rally even more support for tobacco control measures in the country in order to promote public health and safeguard the younger generation from the harmful effects of tobacco. It is also to encourage Members of Parliament to pass the Tobacco Control Bill 2014 which is currently at the health committee and will soon be tabled for the second reading.

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Cricket consumption in Uganda

With a growing world population, food production needs to be a priority in our global agenda to accommodate those rising numbers. Especially considering the fact that today, there are nearly 1 billion chronically hungry people worldwide. Food production processes and changing world settings (overfished oceans, climate change, etc.) should be re-evaluated. That’s where edible insects can come in! Although in most markets people are polarized on the idea of consuming insects, consuming insects is actually increasingly becoming a common practice. Nowadays, most Ugandans are accustomed to eating grasshoppers and even white ants are eaten by a large share of the population on a regular basis. These insects are seen as a delicacy, but apart from that, insects also offer various nutritional benefits: they are high in fat, protein, vitamin, fiber and mineral content. The intake of a variety of nutrients is something which lacks in the diet of the poor.

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TTC launches medical helpline in Ghana

TTC and Savana Signatures have launched a Sexual Health Education Plus (SHE+) project designed to educate young people on their sexual reproductive health and rights. It is their first medical helpline whereby young people can call in toll free and have direct contact with health professionals on sexuality, which can help reduce teenage pregnancies and other sexual transmitted diseases.

This project will run in Tamale and Volta in Ghana and is available in multiple languages. Young people often have lots of questions about sexuality and contraceptives. However many of them don’t have proper access to this information or are not comfortable asking the adults around them.

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TTC one of the fastest growing tech companies in the Netherlands

Wow, what an experience last Friday night. We’re still recovering… We didn’t expect it at all but we were ranked number 10 in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50. This means TTC is one of the fastest technology driven organizations in the Netherlands. And of course, also worth mentioning, the only social enterprise in this top 10.

Last Friday the 2014 edition of the Deloitte Technology Fast50 was held in De Fabrique, Utrecht. During this event the fifty fastest growing technology companies in the Netherlands came together and were very anxious to hear how they were ranked. The big winner was GreenPeak Technologies, with a growth of 8,757% (!), followed by XebiaLabs Group and Improve Digital. TTC was ranked number 10 with a growth of 1577%. And the striking thing was that we were among all these high tech companies while we always use the simplest technology there is.

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3 simple steps how to know your target group

In this blog, Aquiles Dávalos Rück highlights three simple steps how to know your target group.

Many organizations struggle to compile and maintain databases of their beneficiaries. They are usually able to gather a great number of phone numbers from participants during many different projects. However, most of the time organizations have no idea who the person behind the phone number is, where he lives and what he does. This is even more the case when the target group is disperse or geographically hard to reach, in areas such as rural Africa and Latin America.

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TTC Ebola prevention campaigns keep growing

“What we need is specific, clear and understandable information that addresses people’s real-life questions. Should I be worried? What do I need to do today to protect myself and my family?”
Scott C. Ratzan, member of the CDC board of scientific counselors on infectious disease.

In the fight against Ebola mobile phones can save lives. There are almost 7 billion mobile-cellular subscriptions worldwide. In Africa almost 70% of the population has a mobile phone. That’s why TTC runs social campaigns in countries like Sierra Leone, Mali, Ghana, Uganda and Malawi, for awareness, social mobilization and reporting on the Ebola outbreak. And why do we use SMS? Because 97% of SMS messages are read within 5 seconds. SMS is an instantaneous, interactive and cost-effective tool to reach a great number of people quickly. Especially the interactivity of our campaigns makes sure that people are truly involved and understand this important information about Ebola. Since the first case of Ebola was detected in Mali last week, we have seen an increase of over 65% of participants requesting information about Ebola from their own mobile handsets in just a few days.

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