Text Messages to Reduce Child Mortality and Improve Maternal Health

UNICEF signed a partnership agreement with the major national mobile telecommunications provider of Mozambique, Mcel, and the Ministry of Health (MISAU), which would see all Mcel mobile telephone subscribers receive 'Facts for Life' text messages once a month. This three-year project called “SMS for Life” project uses innovative technology to help national efforts to achieve Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 to reduce child mortality rates and improve maternal health.

Text Messages to Reduce Child Mortality and Improve Maternal Health

Safeguard the Family, which is sponsored by several public and private partners, including USAID and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is an integrated and comprehensive maternal and child health program that has components of HIV/PMTCT services, family planning, TB, nutrition, postnatal follow-up and vaccinations, safe water, and hygiene. Safeguard the Family will expand UNC’s coverage to around 130 clinics in Malawi’s Central West Zone, which is home to approximately 3.8 million people, or a quarter of Malawi’s population.

In March 2013, Mcel, a mobile telecommunications provider in Mozambique, along with UNICEF and the Ministry of Health signed a partnership which enables all Mcel customers to receive educational text messages.

This project, dubbed “SMS for Life,” spreads information to all Mcel users free of charge. The topics addressed in the text messages go over disease prevention, injuries, violence against children, and the importance of using health facilities. The program is scheduled to last three years and contributes to the national effort to achieve Millennium Development Goals four and five established by the UN. These goals focus on reducing child mortality rates and improving maternal health.

While the use of mobile phones in Mozambique isn’t as common as in the United States, Mcel’s subscribers cover all social groups – this project alone is predicted to reach nearly five million people.

One of the interesting aspects of this partnership is the use of the private sector in contributing its resources and support to public health and national goals. This type of success includes low involvement from external countries and simply aids the nation’s own companies and people in addressing national problems.


  • United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

    United States | Staff size: 10,000+

    UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to protect the rights of every child. UNICEF has spent 70 years working to improve the lives of children and their families. Defending children's...

  • Mcel

    Service Providers
    Mozambique | Staff size: 6-25

    Mcel - Mozambique Mobile is the leading mobile company in Mozambique. Founded in November 1997, Mcel has more than 3 million customers throughout the country, representing a market share of...

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Key Information

LocationMozambique, Southern Africa
  • Start Date 2013
  • End Date 2016
  • Sectors