Pregnant women and nursing mothers have been encouraged to subscribe to the Ghana Health Service (GHS) Mobile Phone for Health (Mp4H) text code programme in order to receive authentic timely health messages on their pregnancies and how they can take care of their newborns.
The Programme Manager of the Family Health Division of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Mr Emmanuel Ayire Adongo, gave the advice in an interview and stated that the messages subscribers of the programme were likely to receive included how to prepare for delivery, when to go for antenatal, what they should eat, danger signs in pregnancy and what to do when they see them.
Others are danger signs to look out for during the early newborn period, exclusive breastfeeding, complementary feeding, post-natal check-ups when to go for child welfare clinics (otherwise known as weighing) and the medicines their newborns were likely to receive at every stage of their lives.
What is Mp4H
The Mp4H is a private-public partnership between the GHS and Tech-Valley Gh, a technology company. It is designed to provide authentic key and timely child-care and maternal health-care messages during pregnancy, post-natal and childcare to pregnant women and nursing mothers.
Subscribers would have to text ‘baby’ or ‘mother’ (depending on whether they are nursing mothers or pregnant women) to the shortcode 1880 to receive the text messages. For pregnant women, once they text to the shortcode, it will request for the gestational age and once that is provided, they would start receiving weekly text messages about the pregnancy. Once they deliver, the programme would automatically roll them on to the childcare one.
When nursing mothers subscribe, it will also request for the age of the child and once that is provided, they will receive messages till the child is two years.
“We know that the health worker-population ratio in the country is not adequate and we want to reach out to everybody by giving them reminders such as those mentioned above to enable them to care for themselves and their children and to alert them of any danger,” Mr Adongo explained.
He said some nursing mothers and pregnant women also tended to forget the messages given to them at the clinic but subscribing to the text code would help them to have all that they had forgotten.
Mr Adongo said the country was currently experiencing high neonatal death rate and pointed out that ignorance was responsible for this.
“Ignorance is killing most of our children and these messages have been introduced to remind parents of how to take care of their children in order to reduce neonatal deaths in the country. The messages come with tips on how parents can take care of their children’s emotional and psychological needs,” he said.
The (Mp4H) programme was started last year and has so far registered 10,000 subscribers.
Of the number, Mr Adongo said, 60 percent were subscription by pregnant women for messages on their pregnancy while the remaining 40 percent were for child healthcare messages.
Interested people can subscribe to all mobile networks: MTN, Tigo, Airtel and Vodafone.