Kajiado county, Kenya – 8 March 2023
37-year-old Violet Simiyu is a married, mum of five, who lives and works as a part-time domestic worker in Kajiado County. We meet Violet at the waiting area benches inside the bustling Isinya Health Centre. She is holding her four-month-old baby Jasmine Pendo who occasionally gleefully smiles at her mum. She had come in for Pendo’s postnatal clinic appointment at the health center which is situated in a quiet area of Kajiado county with homesteads sparingly spread out across the scorching, savannah landscape.
How PROMPTS supports mums like Violet
Violet is one of our over 2 million+ mums who continue to use our two-way SMS-based PROMPTS platform to seek support and lifesaving information through their pregnancy, birth and postpartum journey. In Kajiado county alone, we have 30,408 mums enrolled on PROMPTS across 20 facilities. She tells us that baby Pendo is her fifth-born child and it was only when she was three months pregnant with Pendo that she got to learn about PROMPTS via an sms she received on her mobile phone. The information caught her attention and she visited Kajiado Health Centre where a nurse assisted her to sign up for the service.
At the core of our SMS-based solution is providing access to information to underserved women to help them feel enriched with knowledge and empowered to seek access to quality care services at the right time.
One might consider Violet a ‘veteran’ mum however, she admits that she has constantly relied on the information she received on PROMPTS to remind her about how to navigate postpartum life with baby Pendo, an experience that was very different from her last four children.
An SMS companion to support mothers through the first few days of their baby’s life
A few days after settling back home with her newborn baby Pendo ‘she noticed her eyes were yellow…I didn’t know what was wrong with her.’ This prompted her to send a description of baby Pendo’s symptoms via PROMPTS 21884 sms shortcode and soon after she was promptly advised on what she needed to do to seek immediate medical professional help for her baby.
Violet was empowered to ask questions about her Pendo’s symptoms and this enabled her daughter to receive immediate treatment for jaundice which was diagnosed at the Kajiado Health Centre. ‘I would not have known what to do with baby Pendo if it was not for PROMPTS….I can confidently ask as many questions about Pendo’s wellbeing.’
Supporting postpartum depression
She goes on to admit that in the past she was lucky to receive postpartum counseling: by being linked to a counselor through PROMPTS – when she realized she was sinking into depression immediately after baby Pendo was born. She credits this support to how easy it was for her to confidently ask as many questions on the platform and knowing she would always get a response that would guide her.
Her example is just one of the value additions and unique features that PROMPTS offer to mums. The platform not only provides vital health information to guide mums through pregnancy and postpartum journey but it allows for two-way communication where a mum can ask questions and our AI-enabled technology can filter through the messages in real-time, triage and direct flagged messages to our helpdesk team who then provide timely support to mums in critical need of care.
Violet is an advocate for PROMPTS and openly recommends this platform to her friends as she has been able to conquer a few of the common maternal health challenges that many Kenyan mums like her face every day but at times lack access to health information to guide them on how and when they need to access health services.
A scaleable solutions to empower mothers like Violet
Part of our efforts to improve maternal health outcomes in Kenya is by ensuring PROMPTS is made available to all underserved women like Violet. We work closely with our government partners at both national and county level to scale our program and provide a platform that is a free, cost-effective and inclusive tool improve how mums seek care in our public hospitals.
As we end the week that celebrated International Women’s Day, we honour Violet who isn’t afraid to speak up with confidence and seek information that will support her motherhood journey.