Kenya’s research institute develops anti-HIV mobile tool

Efforts to stop the spread of HIV from expectant mothers to unborn babies has received a boost thanks to a mobile texting tool that passes HIV information to mothers.

Researchers from the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) have designed the Texting to improve Testing (TextIT) tool which sends reminders of pre natal and post natal clinic visits and pregnancy concerns to expectant mothers through mobile phone texts and calls.

The tool uses mobile phones to provide interactive two-way text messaging for pregnant HIV-positive women to encourage them to attend postpartum clinics and have their infants tested for HIV.

Kemri Prevention from Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) Technical Advisor Eliud Akama said that they have designed and automated an interactive software that is able to send pre-programmed text messages to expectant women.

He further said that expectant mothers are enrolled into the system which also automatically determines their expected date of delivery.

Once that date is noted, the system will then determine the kind of messages to send to the mother at every pregnancy stage as she awaits delivery or depending on her pregnancy stage in addition to sending her encouraging messages.

The system is pre-programmed to send those text messages at the time a woman feels will be convenient for her to receive the message as well as in the language she is comfortable with.