Did you know that 220 million women and girls have unmet needs for family planning? In particular, Tanzania has one of the lowest doctor-patient ratios in the world — 1 doctor for every 50,000 patients. With those limitations, how are individuals supposed to make informed choices about their health when they can’t access information about their options?
This is a question being asked by the maternal health and global health community. As studies have shown, improved access to comprehensive sexuality education and modern contraception increases opportunities throughout a woman’s life. This includes the ability to pursue education and earn an income leading to a healthier life for a woman, her children and her family.
With mobile technologies advancing in developing countries, we can now get health information and support to many more women and couples. Text messaging (SMS) in particular, offers benefits:
- Messages are available to all mobile phone users regardless of phone type.
- Mobile phone users typically carry them everywhere, making maximum program reach likely.
- In many cases, text messages are less expensive than voice calls.
- Text messages can be automated and efficiently delivered, reaching many people.