Library Service Aims to Reduce Maternal Mortality

Mothers-to-be, new mothers and their infants will benefit from the new mobile phone e-health service to be provided by Northern Regional Library in Ghana.

The library, based in the administrative capital of Northern Ghana, Tamale, is one of three new EIFL-Public Library Innovation Programme ( EIFL-PLIP ) grantee libraries in Ghana. With EIFL-PLIP support,the library’s Technology for maternal Health Service aims to reduce maternal and child mortality by using information and communication technology ( ICT ) to improve communication between health workers and pregnant women.

During an ICT for Development forum organised by the library it became clear that there was deep concern about maternal health and the high numbers of mothers dying in childbirth. Pregnant mothers were only able to visit clinics about once a month and this is not enough for health workers to advise and treat them.

Health workers agreed that mobile phones could be a solution. They suggested preparing maternal health information and sending it to mothers-to-be and new mothers each week by text messages (SMS).

In addition to providing an SMS information service, the library will set up a health information corner in the library, with free access to the Internet. Librarians will train health workers to use ICT to conduct research, to create and repackage health messages, and to communicate with their clients. The health corner will also be open to members of the general public seeking health information.

Thanks to Jean Fairbairn of EIFL ( Electronic Information for Libraries ) for this.  More on their website.

Nigel Palmer    Phi


About nigepalphi

I am a trustee of Partnerships in Health Information. I was librarian of the Health Education Council in London from 1969 to 1972, then librarian of St Mary's Hospital Medical School from 1972 to 2002.
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