Case Study: MomConnect, Praekelt Foundation, South Africa (Messengers Initiative)

Developed in South Africa by the Praekelt Foundation in 2013, MomConnect was designed to provide pregnant women and new mothers with access to critical health information via their mobile phones. Now an official South African Department of Health (DoH) program, MomConnect seeks to improve public health outcomes, services and systems by driving utilization of clinics and generating performance data for public health officials and providers. User registration for MomConnect is conducted exclusively via USSD, and information is provided through USSD, SMS and IVR (interactive voice response). Since 2016, MomConnect services have also been available via messaging applications.

Key Findings Include:

  • End-to-end encryption of WhatsApp conversations makes it a viable messaging app solution for organizations transacting sensitive information, but also requires substantial in-house hardware and significant technical capacity.
  • WhatsApp provides a rich conversational experience due to the ability to send informative images and short audio clips that can be replayed and revisited by recipients.
  • In the future, if WhatsApp charges organizations for service integration, the cost of conversations via WhatsApp may become prohibitively expensive.

This work is part of a wider messengers initiative with Echo Mobile. For the full project, visit our messengers page.

This case study was published in May 2018

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