KEY INDIVIDUAL(s)

Valter Cumbi

WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM
THIS CASE STUDY

Policy / decision-makers
Practitioners / professionals
Technical people
Civic Tech initiatives
Communities

KEY CATEGORIES

Health Information

Access to Information

CONTACT CTIN

CASE STUDY

mHealth platform providing free and MOH-approved health information to Mozambicans

TYPE OF ORGANISATION RESPONSIBLE FOR THE INITIATIVE

NAME

EMAIL

WEBSITE

PENSA

N/A

STATUS

COUNTRY

FOUNDING DATE

Live

Mozambique

N/A

BRIEF OVERVIEW OF CASE STUDY

PENSA’s mHealth platform provides every Mozambican free and MOH-approved health information through USSD, SMS, and a responsive website, covering the last mile and the bottom of the pyramid. 

PENSA (Health Information Education Platform) is available on all Mozambican Mobile Network Operators by dialling *660# and through the website. Through either channel, the citizen can: – see symptoms, precautions and general information for various diseases; see information on maternal health, baby development, and vaccines; get contact details for health facilities; and more.

The main objective of PENSA is to get information about health to the most vulnerable citizens and to facilitate the interaction between citizen and the entities that offer health basic services. As part of this project, PENSA works with the Ministry of Health to make the health content freely accessible by the masses.

What was the problem & What was the approach taken to it?

The Problem:

  • There are very few health facilities in rural settings and a limited reach of health information
  • There is a low physician density: 25,000 patients per physician (average);
  • Impractical outreach awareness campaigns: which are slow and resource-intensive due to the materials and personnel required to visit all the rural areas
  • Inadequacy of conventional technologies: TV & Radio are expensive as a continuous means of communication and many citizens don’t own TV or radios;
  • Internet reach is only 10% of the population.

The Approach:

  • According to our telecommunications regulator, over 80% of Mozambican adults and adolescents own mobile phones, turning it into the ideal vehicle through which to deliver services and solutions to the citizens. Of these mobile phone owners, however, only 20% have smartphones, a third have feature phones, and the rest (the majority) have basic phones. These different devices, and inconsistent network coverage, makes conventional mobile apps less adequate for our reality. Therefore, through Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD)–a technology available on all mobile phones, PENSA provides citizens health information provided by the Ministry of Health (MOH). They have also deployed a MOH-based call centre to respond to citizen’s questions. This is particularly relevant given the costs and distances required to reach the health centres, which often deters the underprivileged from going until their health issues is very severe.

Which actors, resources, conditions, tools, etc. were required?

  • Collaborations are important and are built on personal networks
  • Being proactive when dealing with the government helped make the process faster
LESSONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
  • There is a lack of ecosystem support for civic tech practitioners in Mozambique
  • The problem should drive the project, not the technology
  • In Mozambique, about 90% of successful civic tech projects are non-tech related
  • The political and economy contexts of civic tech is too often ignored
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NOTE: The case studies submitted will be used in content creation, we will write articles on your work that engages with our readers. The case studies will also be compiled and added to our CTIN database of civic tech case studies and shared through our various channels.