mHealth initiative that bridges access of rural residents in Malawi to expert health care
Remote communities often lack access to reliable health information and linkage to referrals or emergency services. This is often compounded by myths resulting in health practices that are detrimental to health and well-being, leading to high maternal and neonatal mortality rates. Chipatala cha pa Foni (CCPF) or “Health Center by Phone” is an mHealth initiative that bridges access of rural residents in Malawi to expert health care through toll-free health and nutrition hotline and tips and reminder (voice and text) messaging service. While in the first few years the hotline focused on maternal, neonatal and child health, it has since expanded to cover all health topics, and callers are also referred to nearby health facilities when needed. Increased use of antenatal care within the first trimester, increased use of a bed net during pregnancy and for children under five, and increased rates of early initiation of breastfeeding are some of the impacts that has prompted the Ministry of Health to finance and promote the innovation in all 28 districts in Malawi. By 1st July 2019, CCPF will be the first government-run national health hotline in Africa.