Lesotho: Vodacom, Mondia in Maternal Health Partnership

28 September 2021

Vodacom Lesotho has partnered with international mobile commerce company, Mondia to roll out the mobile communications giant's Vodacom's Mum & Baby initiative countrywide.

Mom & Baby is a web platform offering exclusive health and wellness content to educate mothers, their partners and caregivers to help take care of babies.

Announced last week by Vodacom Lesotho's managing director Mohale Ralebitso, the initiative is available to all subscribers using data capable devices.

Customers can access it by logging onto https://mumandbaby.vodacom.mobi/ls/mum and (*230*3#) on USSD to subscribe for a small charge on their airtime to receive information on the platform.

Launched in South Africa in 2017, the Mum & Baby service had almost 2 million registered subscribers in that country as of August 2021.

"Leading pan-African communications company Vodacom, and Mondia, a private m-commerce company dedicated to connecting, digitalising and monetising mobile consumers, are proud to announce the rollout of the Mum & Baby maternal health service across Lesotho from September 2021," the two companies said this week.

"Mum & Baby provides Vodacom subscribers with maternal, neonatal and child health information designed to encourage good health practices among pregnant women, mothers, partners and caregivers. Vodacom collaborated with Mondia to create Mum & Baby's tailored content, which includes videos, expert articles, and information-sharing SMS messages."

Commenting on the initiative, Vodacom Lesotho's executive head of the consumer business and customer value division, Tšepo Thabisi, said they were proud to contribute to community development by offering technological solutions for improved health.

"Mum & Baby is our flagship health and wellness brand focusing on motherhood. We are proud of the way in which it contributes to our vision of building communities, bringing health solutions to more lives and promoting good health outcomes.

"We have seen this in Lesotho where the indomitable Basotho spirit has come to the fore, as people find creative ways to stay connected, support each other and express themselves. We see our digital services connecting the people of Lesotho to the world wherever they are via Lesotho's Blanket Network Coverage," Mr Thabisi said.

Mondia chief executive officer, Amadeo Rahmann, said their partnership would among other things address the critical infant mortality rates in Lesotho.

"The value of this partnership is now more critical than ever, with Lesotho's infant mortality rate, which is one of the highest in the world, having been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in people avoiding medical services for fear of exposure to the virus. As a result, initiatives that put the power of good health directly in people's hands remain immeasurably important. Mum & Baby provides a free, convenient way of accessing instant, expert advice where it is most needed," Mr Rahmann said.

Mum & Baby also provides interactive tools including a due-date calculator for expecting mothers, an immunisation calendar, a medication reminder and medicine-safety information. The service, which is available in Lesotho in both English and Sesotho, also includes a rewards component through which subscribers can earn vouchers, music and lullabies.

A KPMG survey conducted in South Africa revealed that over 95 percent of respondents reported that they found the Mum & Baby SMS messages useful or very useful for learning new information about their child/children's health and wellbeing, ninety-eight percent of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they had taken actions to improve their child's health as a result of the information provided through the Mum & Baby service. Another 98 percent of pregnant women and mothers surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that they had taken actions to improve their own health because of the information provided through the Mum & Baby service.

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