How it works

SMS Doctors

SMS Doctors is an organization that aims at providing easily-accessible and cost-effective sexual healthcare information through SMS.

Pilot

The pilot will target specifically adolescents with sexual health questions, accessed through selected high schools in and around Harare. Subscribers to the pilot project will receive a generic text message with free sexual health information and will then have the facility to reply and ask questions related to that particular topic.

Incoming messages will be incorporated on a digital platform, maintaining strict confidentiality and anonymity of the user, with each incoming text ascribed a case number. Access to the platform will be made available to a group of Zimbabwean and Dutch medical students. Supervised by doctors, the students will discuss the responses to these questions, creating an international peer-reviewed network. Each response having then been reviewed, responses to each question will be sent back through SMS.

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Considerations

While mobile phone communication is developing rapidly in Sub-Saharan-Africa, access to healthcare information is inadequate. Specifically in sexual health, there is a knowledge gap among Zimbabwean adolescents. Mobile phone services could provide a solution for the healthcare information gap. Information provision for adolescents concerning sexual health could be a key factor in the ongoing battle to reduce the prevalence of HIV among adolescents.

Implementation and evaluation

The pilot will run at five high schools in Harare. The pilot will be evaluated by assessment of response time, accessibility of service and usability of provided answers.

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