MomConnect, the maternal health program initiated by the South African National Department of Health in partnership with Reach Digital Health, is celebrating nine years in transforming maternal and infant healthcare.

Launched in 2014, MomConnect offers personalised, stage-based health messaging and realtime support to pregnant mothers in South Africa, including crucial information on breastfeeding to encourage positive behavioural changes and enhance the health of mother and child.

MomConnect has served as a blueprint for similar initiatives throughout Africa and has garnered multiple accolades, including the Skoll Award

MomConnect milestones include:

* 2014 – Launch of MomConnect: In 2014, MomConnect was unveiled as the nation’s first nationally scaled mHealth program. This innovative digital health initiative, officially launched by the South African Minister of Health, has set a global precedent in improving maternal and infant health through technology-driven interventions.

* 2015 – 90% of clinics registering mothers plus 500 000 users: Within a year of its launch, MomConnect registered an impressive milestone, reaching 500 000 users, with 90% of South African clinics participating in the program, signifying its widespread adoption.

* 2017 – MomConnect supports WhatsApp: Recognising the importance of sustainability and user engagement, MomConnect introduced WhatsApp as a platform. This decision not only reduced the cost by 50% within a year but also unlocked many opportunities – a delightful user experience, deeper engagement, rich media (images, voice notes etc), and the ability to build a MomConnect chatbot.

* 2018 – MomConnect reaches 2-million users

* 2020 – MomConnect reaches 3-million users

* 2023 – MomConnect reaches 4,7-million users.

* 2023 – MomConnect adds the intelligent Ada symptom checker: In 2023, MomConnect integrated Ada, an AI-powered symptom checker, to provide personalised health information and care to users. Ada gives mothers the opportunity to input their patient information and then guides them through symptom-related questions, ultimately aiding in early intervention and care.

* 2023 – AI-powered ‘ask-a-question’ feature debuts: The introduction of the ‘Ask-a-Question’ feature demonstrates MomConnect’s commitment to enhancing user support. This algorithm matches users’ free-form text questions with pre-saved FAQs, ensuring rapid responses to queries. Additionally, it assesses the urgency of questions, promoting timely medical attention when needed.