Since Living Goods launched its innovative SMS mobile platform initiative in 2012, community health worker Sarah Balisanyuka has won the ‘Champion of the Month’ for the most SMS uploads…every single time! It is an impressive achievement, though hardly a surprise if she texts only half as fast as she walks and talks! What makes this even more impressive is that just a few months ago, Sarah didn’t know how to compose and send an SMS.
A bundle of energy, Sarah keeps up her daily door-to-door visits, and uploads her texts in the evening: At times, she can have up to 50 texts every evening. “It doesn’t take me that long,” Sarah says, “maybe just 30 minutes. In the beginning there were challenges, but now I’ve gotten used to the system. In fact, it now supports my system and has reduced the time I used to spend writing reports.”
“I really think our mobile platform strengthens the relationship I have with the community,” Sarah continues. “It adds to the friendship, people get a happy surprise when they receive my text, which supports the face to face interactions. But more importantly, it helps promote treatment programs for malaria, antenatal care, and much more.”
For example, a woman, Shaminah, is eight months pregnant, has worked with Sarah through herpregnancy. “I think her texts are impressive. No one else does that. I like the information I received about pregnancy and feeding and how to best care for my newborn.”
Another big fan of the mHealth system is Miriam, who supports 15 children–some are her own and some are dependants. “With all these children, someone is always sick with malaria or cough or diarrhea,” says Miriam. “When Sarah treats them for malaria, I receive daily texts to remind me to complete the dosage. It makes me very happy. It shows me that Living Goods cares about me very much.”