mHealth Project: grant awarded by the Indigo Trust to the SHM Foundation
We are pleased to announce that the Chalker Foundation has helped the SHM Foundation to secure funding for Project Kopano. They have been awarded a grant of £15,000 by the Indigo Trust to whom we recommended the SHM Foundation on the basis that Project Kopano was just the type of technology-driven project for bringing about social change that the Indigo Trust would consider funding.
Project Kopano aims to create mHealth support networks for pregnant women living with HIV in Pretoria, South Africa. It started as a three-month pilot project set up following the success of a similar one in Mexico, Project Zumbido. The pilot project was established in February 2010 and aimed to support programmes tackling prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV in Pretoria, South Africa. This support was offered by giving women access to mobile phones where they could communicate in a group via text messaging (SMS) about issues affecting their lives during the critical period of their pregnancy.
Many pregnant women living with HIV in South Africa face considerable challenges that include a lack of emotional support, and high levels of social isolation and stigma. These factors can make it difficult for them to comply with PMTCT programmes. During the project, participants used their mobile phones to communicate about a wide range of issues affecting their lives, including medical treatment, breastfeeding, unemployment, and how to talk to others about being HIV-positive.
Project Kopano is considered to be an ‘mHealth project’ - one of a growing number of projects worldwide that use mobile phone technology to create sustainable models to improve health.