South Africa: HIVSA Reaches Two Million People Via Cellphone Messaging This World Aids Day
HIVSA in partnership with the Provincial Department of Health, Gauteng, will be sending out two million health-related mobile phone messages to the general public, in support of this year’s WAD initiative.
This number constitutes almost twenty per cent of the total number of people living in Gauteng and is a first for the province in using mobile phone technology as a means of delivering important health messages.
The Department of Health’s theme for this year’s WAD is ‘Safe sex with men and high risk groups’. The focus of the messages would be on promoting medical male circumcision (MMC) as a method of reducing the risk of HIV and promoting HIV counselling and testing (HCT), as part of the ‘play it safe for zero infections campaign’.
hi4LIFE, HIVSA’s mobile phone application, comprises of trusted health information on your cellphone. It operates through the mxit portal, please call me ads and star menu, which is *120*6336#. As part of the messaging for this WAD, the hi4LIFE star menu will include a special WAD page which will contain longer and more detailed information on Medical Male Circumcision and the importance of HIV Counselling and Testing.
Thulani Machere, project coordinator at HIVSA, believes that mobile health is the “new frontier” in communication for all the right reasons – it is cost effective and you can reach large numbers of people with up to date information anywhere at any time.