Vodacom’s Mum & Baby service empowers 1.4 million mothers

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TTakalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer: Corporate Affairs at Vodacom.

Vodacom's Mum & Baby service empowers 1.4 million mothers
Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for Vodacom Group Corporate Affairs.

Subscribers of Vodacom’s Mum & Baby service recently grew to 1.4 million, ensuring that a significantly larger amount of parents in South Africa are able to access reliable health information during pregnancy and their child’s early years from a single, easy-to-use source.

Since its launch in 2017, the service continues to connect mothers and caregivers to stage-based pregnancy, maternal, neonatal, child health advice and wellbeing information, demonstrating Vodacom’s unrelenting commitment to utilising technology to transform people’s lives. This is offered in the form of SMS messages, educational articles, tutorials, videos and tools like a due date calculator.

“Vodacom is committed to providing access to reliable health information and advice throughout the pregnancy stages and early years as it plays a pivotal role in improving maternal and child health in South Africa,” adds Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer: Corporate Affairs at Vodacom. “Not only does a wide range of health and wellbeing related content, tailored for roles (e.g. pregnant women, mothers, partners & caregivers) and the gestation stage or the age of the child, enable our subscribers to learn about themselves and their little ones as part of a Vodacom-supported community, but the growth of the platform to 1.4 million also reflects the forward momentum that Vodacom has been able to make in closing the mobile gender gap through the Mum & Baby service.”

In order to respond directly to the needs of South Africans from all walks of life, Vodacom has a segment approach to its offerings. This approach ensures that nobody is left behind due to their socio-economic status. Mum & Baby was designed with the mass segment in mind, but appeals to people from all walks of life.

The Mobile Gender Gap Report 2018 shows that a significant gender gap, in terms of mobile ownership and use, still exists. The fact that 99 per cent of Mum & Baby users are Vodacom prepaid subscribers is indicative of the positive impact that access to mobile and digital solutions has on the low-and-middle-income South African market.

Vodacom recognises the important role that communications technology can play in supporting the growth and prosperity of individuals. In realising the goal of this year’s International Women’s Day – #BalanceforBetter – Vodacom is demonstrating its focused approach to bridging the significant gender gap and encouraging mobile ownership amongst low-and-middle-income women.

Hlengiwe Ximba, one of Mum & Baby’s regular users and mother of a happy, healthy two-year-old, subscribed to the service when her baby was three months old.

The first-time mum went on to say: “Before I made use of the Mum & Baby service, I feared things that I didn’t know, but now I feel more empowered to look after myself and my son. For example, the service has taught me how to establish a routine with my baby, particularly about sleeping. Although my sister is a nurse, and can share healthcare information, she works long hours and often is not home. So now, Mum & Baby has become the nurse that I can access from the palm of my hand”.

According to Vodafone commissioned research, the majority of subscribers (81 per cent), live in Gauteng, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. Users comprise of pregnant women (30 per cent) and mothers (27 per cent), with roughly half of the users aged between 18 and 24. The most interesting user group is South African fathers who are stepping up and taking an interest in the wellbeing of their kids. They represent 24 per cent of the users.

Isaac Molalo, is a father of two who resides in Mokopane, Limpopo. This is what he had to say about his experience on the service:

“I am a father of two sons. I am able to use the service to compare my experience of fatherhood before and after I had access to the Mum & Baby service. This is the first time I can get healthcare information through my phone, and I can refer back to the SMS messages when I have a query about my baby’s health and development.”

Mum & Baby forms part of Vodacom’s Siyakha platform that aims to empower South Africans with free access to online learning, job sites, Facebook Flex and funeral cover of up to R10 000.

Mum & Baby is free to every Vodacom subscriber, even if they are not registered on Siyakha. A premium Mum & Baby service, which includes additional content, is free-of-charge to individuals registered on Siyakha.

The service is available on USSD or via a mobisite, making it easy to access from any device.

Vodacom subscribers eager to learn more about their baby’s development during pregnancy, as well as receive important health tips and advice to guide them along the way, can dial *117*6862# or visit http://live.vodacom.co.za/s/mom.

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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