Increasing equity through mobile technology
Across the world, 1.3 billion people—many of them living in remote areas—have no access to effective, affordable health care. For women and girls living in hard-to-reach places, family planning and childbirth are particularly challenging, and sometimes a matter of life and death.
VillageReach was founded in 2001 with a clear aim: to improve access to quality healthcare for the world’s most underserved communities.
Equitable access to quality healthcare is a central part of the VillageReach mission, recognizing that access to reproductive health, including contraception, is vitally important to improving health outcomes in the communities we serve.
Using mobile phone technology, it overcomes the barriers of distance. “Chipatala cha pa Foni”, which means “health center by phone” in chewa language, uses mobile health (mHealth) technology: women in rural Malawi are able to speak directly with a hotline worker for information on pregnancy, newborn and child health, and reproductive health issues such as family planning. The program currently serves a population of more than 500,000 women and children, answering more than 1,000 calls and sending 8,000 messages per month.
Common questions include…
- Concerns about family planning and its side effects: “I am on Depo Provera, and I am not having monthly periods. Is this normal?”
- Danger signs in pregnancy: “I am pregnant and I am bleeding. What could it be? What should I do?”
- Questions about infertility: “I am failing to conceive. I am married for 2 or 3 years but I don't have a child.”
Just ten years ago, women in villages struggled with a lack of information that could—and sometimes did—cost them their lives. With this virtual health center available just a phone call away, VillageReach makes an invaluable contribution to increasing equity, a quality celebrated by the Coalition’s strategic pillar on Equity.
VillageReach has been a member of the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition since 2014.
This article is part of the Coalition’s ongoing work in promoting partners and members across the globe. All the opinions reflected in this article belong to our members.
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