n South African Medical Journal - Using mobile technology to improve maternal, child and youth health and treatment of HIV patients : guest editorial

Volume 106, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



In February 2015, the South African (SA) National Department of Health (NDoH) was notified of a shortage of iron tablets at a clinic in Kenneth Kaunda District in North West Province. Similar reports emerged from two other clinics in the same district around the same time. Iron supplements are routinely provided to pregnant women in SA to prevent maternal anaemia. Maternal anaemia is a risk factor for mortality from obstetric haemorrhage, which accounts for more than 200 maternal deaths annually. These reports resulted in a broader enquiry encompassing the whole of the province, revealing widespread stock-outs. With this insight, the provincial Department of Health met with staff to re-emphasise ordering procedures and what to do if drugs are out of stock. Notably, the earliest reports of iron stock-outs were received not from clinic staff but from pregnant women themselves, using the help desk function of a new mobile phone-based system called MomConnect.

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