Investing in innovation and technology is essential to transforming communities and enhancing the manner in which day-to-day activities are conducted and managed. Innovation in the health sector is vital, to ensure there are new and revised ways of tackling social determinants to health challenges. South Africa’s National Department of Health and Johnson and Johnson, in support, hosted a satellite session showcasing “South Africa’s Use of Innovative Technologies to Support HIV+ Clients through diagnosis and Retention of Care” at the 21st International AIDS Conference.

Below are South Africa’s Top 5 game-changing innovative mobile health technology solutions responding to people living with HIV, through diagnosis and retention of care:

1. MomConnect, launched in 2014, is currently the largest network of it’s kind implemented by a national government. It responds to the challenge of maternal mortality, new-born deaths and child health; with the primary aim of providing pregnant mothers with information about their reproductive health, pregnancy, and nutrition knowledge to ensure every child born lives and every unborn child and it’s mother live healthy lives. MomConnect, is an interactive free service system, with more than 800 000 registered mothers and is currently operational in 3,300 (95%) health care facilities across South Africa. It provides a holistic approach to addressing health challenges experienced by it’s patients and health care service providers. NurseConnect is a platform integrated in MomConnect that enables nurses to conveniently access and attain suitable and up-to-date information on the mothers health. Where the platform has successfully managed to connect 4000 nurses nationwide.

“Small scale research has shown that mothers who receive PMTCT messages have better outcomes, additionally, specific PMTCT messaging has been created and developed for women living positively with HIV” – MomConnect Ambassador, Ms Tsepiso Makwetla.

2. The Medication Adherence App: ComCare, is an appointment and medications diary reminder, championed by Mother2Mothers that helps mentor mothers identify clients, who have missed PMTCT appointments, manage their follow up and assist them with bringing clients back to care in health facilities and help to retain them in care. The electronic client appointment diary presents an opportunity to improve further  efficiency of the previous paper based system, to identify clients with missed priority appointments – better linking them to care and supporting them to stay in care. The design of the ComCare App  is stage based, and tracks appointments along the PMTCT cascade for each mother and her baby. The medication adherence app provides a platform to interface and connect with MomConnect, to ensure better active tracking of mother and baby with linked reports.

3. B-Wise Appis a mobi-site app specifically targeted for high-risk adolescents and young people in South Africa between the ages of 10-24, to provide a two-way communication platform between the National Department of Health and adolescents and young people across the country through responsive activities on the mobi-site, which enables the target group to pose feedback to the Department of Health. The mobile site can be accessed on a feature phone, smartphone, tablet or desktop computer, and shares information on HIV, Prevention, Gender-based violence, substance abuse, nutrition, contraception and STI’s. The information shared on the mobi-site aims to speak directly to the issues adolescents and young people are faced with, including mental health issues.

4. Pharmacy Dispensing Unit (PDU), aims to enhance patient experience and respond to accessibility and availability of medicines for patients. Five (5) Pharmacy Dispensary Units pilot projects are in the process of being scheduled to go live within shopping malls and public hospitals across Pretoria and Johannesburg between August – December 2016. The PDU is an innovative, fully automated and customized technology solution, that promises uninterrupted access and convenience, quality pharmaceutical services and enhanced patient experience.

5. Stock Visibility System (SVS), is a system that provides early detection of stock out of medicines. The innovative project, responds to the challenge of time and quantity inaccuracies from manually recorded stock taking at health care facilities. The Stock Visibility System has a user-friendly procedure that has been adopted, for patients to be able to attain their medicines easily with the use of mobile technology. There are 3000 facilities across south Africa that currently have the system in place and using it.

“What we wanted to create was a system where we could have visibility of what stock is available at a facility at a point in time, but also to be able to warn us before that actually happens – that a specific facility has ordered stock or the stock that it has ordered is insufficient.” – Dr Anaban Pillay, SA National Department of Health



Cover photo credit: UNICEF South Africa/Karin Schermbrucker, Flickr Creative Commons

Girls’ Globe is present at the 2016 International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa (17-22nd of July). Follow our team on social media @GirlsGlobe, @FHI360 & @JNJGlobalHealth and by using the hashtag #EndHIV4Her for inspiring blog posts, interviews and updates! To sign up for the daily In Focus Newsletter visit



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