AlloLaafia is a service enabling the Burkinabe population to gain greater awareness on the issues of maternal and child health using mobile phones. Launched by GRET in June 2016, the service now has over 15,000 subscribers in the communes of Fada and Diabo, in the east of Burkina Faso.
AlloLaafia effectively complements the actions of community health workers by reiterating messages conveyed during talks, supporting beneficiaries over the long term and expanding the territory and the audience reached. Prior to the launch of the service, public and private health stakeholders, beneficiaries’ representatives and users had locally identified three priority areas to promote: infant and young child feeding (IYCF), pregnancy monitoring and family planning.
Each of the three areas was the subject of a text message log book (160 characters per message maximum) written by GRET’s specialists and partners – Djantoli, ABF Fandima, and APAC. These awareness-raising text messages were validated at provincial level, and subsequently at national level by the ministry of Health. The IYCF text message log book contains 217 messages in French and Gurmantché that will be rolled out over 24 months. Those on pregnancy monitoring and family planning contain 142 and 72 messages respectively, which will be rolled out over 14 and 6 months respectively.
Over one million messages sent
Subscriptions are today taken by GRET and its partners, who process subscribers’ data on tablets. The data is then exported to the AlloLaafia online platform, which manages subscriptions, messages and their distribution. The data collected respects the anonymity of subscribers and the voluntary nature of subscriptions. This platform was developed by Burkinabe company Evolve technologies.
AlloLaafia is currently a free service that distributes over 3,500 messages a day, from Monday to Saturday, between 8 am and 10 am. Each subscriber receives between two and three messages per week. Over one million messages have been distributed since the launch. AlloLaafia signed partnerships with Burkinabe mobile phone operators, enabling it to connect its platform to the operators’ messaging servers and to benefit from preferential distribution rates.
In July 2017, a survey was conducted among approximately one hundred IYCF message subscribers. The results show that the children of those surveyed were weighed twice as often at district level. Almost half of subscribers advised their families and friends to subscribe and 98 % say they would be willing to pay for subscribing to the service.
Excerpt from the IYCF message log books: days 10 to 14
|Day 10||Take the time necessary to breastfeed your baby. The milk sucked by your baby at the beginning of the feed contains sufficient water and will quench his/her thirst even when the weather is hot.|
|Day 12||The milk at the end of the feed is thick and very nutritious. This milk satiates your baby’s hunger. Let your baby empty one breast before giving him/her the other.|
|Day 14||During your baby’s first months, he/she will often have tummy pains: this is normal. You can calm him/her by letting him/her lie flat on his/her tummy on your shoulder or your knees.|
The messages tell us some things we already knew and others we are hearing for the first time, they give us practical advice that is very useful. As advised, I didn’t give my daughter water until she was six months old, whereas I had given it to my other children when they were younger. They were often ill, but my daughter has never been ill so far. My husband also subscribed to AlloLaafia. I also forward some messages to my neighbour, who has a three-month old baby.
AlloLaafia is implemented as part of the MobiSan project – Mobile telephony for maternal and child health in the province of Gourma, Agence française de développement and the Bel Foundation.
More information on the Mobisan project.
More information on GRET’s activities in Burkina Faso.