Malawi is the world’s poorest country as measured by GDP per capita, according to
the World Bank.1 Its stark poverty means that access to maternal, child and infant
healthcare is difficult to obtain and its maternal and infant mortality rate is one of the
highest in Africa. This problem is compounded by the lack of health care facilities and
trained medical staff in the country. Other countries in Africa with similar challenges have
employed mobile health (mHealth) solutions implemented via mobile phones. Despite
having one of the lowest mobile penetration rates in Africa, developing an mHealth
platform to improve maternal and child health is a viable option given that mobile phones
are the predominant communication method.
Chipatala Cha Pa Foni (CCPF), or Health Center by Phone, was originally developed and
implemented in Malawi by the international NGO Concern Worldwide, in partnership with
VillageReach as part of the Innovations for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health initiative.
VillageReach has since expanded CCPF in scale and scope. CCPF consists of a hotline
that provides health information and advice to pregnant women and caretakers of young
children. Through a recent merger with Airtel Malawi, a leading mobile network operator
(MNO) in the country, and their Dial-a-Doc program, which triages calls to doctors,
CCPF will extend its reach to include all health issues. CCPF’s effectiveness relies on its
simplicity and execution through a voice hotline. Users can call the hotline for information
and can be referred to a local health facility if necessary. CCPF users can also opt-in to a
text and voice messaging system that automatically delivers stage-based messages with
healthcare advice to pregnant women and new mothers.
This case study demonstrates how VillageReach approached sustainability and scale at
the national level through partnerships with the national Ministry of Health (MOH) and
a merger with Airtel. Through this case study, VillageReach shares its lessons