In a ground-breaking effort to use cell phone technology to improve access to healthcare, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Cayetano Heredia University of Peru (UPCH) and Movistar have launched a pilot project that will benefit low-income pregnant women in Peru. The partnership will start by expanding prenatal care to 5,000 low-income women in Callao, Peru.
The project, known as “Wawanet,” will use text messaging via mobile telephones to enhance the health of mothers and infants by enabling them to receive customized advice on nutrition and potential problems during pregnancy. In addition, the project, with support from the IDB’s Division of Science and Technology, aspires to integrate a system of clinical histories through mobile technology, seeking to improve information systems that serve mothers and infants.
The project is headed by Dr. Walter H. Curioso, a physician and investigative professor at UPCH, and Dr. Patricia García, a physician and professor at the Faculty for Public Health in UPCH. Curioso said that this project seeks to develop a solution to the problems of maternal mortality in Peru, emphasizing that an improvement in the health of mothers and infants would also contribute to Peru’s attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.