Text messages save mothers’ lives in Rwanda

August 16, 2010

A recent CNN article highlights interesting use of mobile technology in Rwanda, where the government has issued nearly 500 mobile phones to community health care workers in the rural Musanze district.  Through a text message, health care workers can register expectant mothers with a local clinic, where doctors track their progress.  Subsequent queries, complications or updates, are also sent and quickly replied to via texts.

The RapidSMS scheme may prove vital in reducing the country’s high maternal mortality rate.  Since its launch last year in Musanze, there have been no reported maternal deaths in the district (compared with 10 in 2008).   The next step in this UN backed campaign is to provide a further 17,000 phones to maternal health care service providers and then a further 50,000 to every health care worker in the country.  Will be interesting to follow how this approach will affect the country’s mortality and morbidity rates.