Innovative SMS Programme delivers essential health information to truck drivers in Southern Africa

Good day. Welcome to North Star SMS wellness support. If you want to stop getting the SMSs, send a please-call-me at any time.

This month, North Star Alliance and Cell-Life, a not-for-profit organisation that provides technology for the management of HIV, launched an innovative SMS-based pilot programme designed to deliver important health training information to truck drivers daily across Southern Africa. The pilot, which delivers one message per day to drivers who have signed up, covers a range of pertinent health topics, including:

  • Prevention and treatment information about HIV, STIs, TB, and other communicable diseases,
  • Dietary and nutritional information,
  • Treatment adherence reminders,
  • Substance abuse information,
  • Stress reduction,
  • Myths and stigma,
  • and important questions to ask a clinician at your next visit.
In addition to receiving information, drivers are given the opportunity to send a “Please Call Me” SMS to North Star, who will follow up on an individual basis to document comments and suggestions about the programme, which will in turn be used to shape future SMS campaigns. To date, feedback has already been overwhelmingly positive, with some drivers even choosing to actively respond to incoming messages: “TKS 4 THE SMSES, I AM HAPPY”; “Yes they are so helpful and encouraging”; and “I am not on any medication but I pass the info onto others and I believe it will help me when the need arises…”

“Being able to keep in touch with the drivers between our Roadside Wellness Centres is another way North Star is showing their commitment to bringing health to the mobile workforce 24/7 and we are very excited at the possibilities our partnership with Cell-Life is opening up!” says Paul Matthew, Director Africa at North Star Alliance.

As this partnership and programme grows, visit our blog to stay up to date on developments and results from this exciting initiative. Until then, all of us at North Star hope you:

Live healthy, live long! To do this get support, eat healthily, take regular exercise, relax and have good times, and avoid alcohol and smoking.

Cell-Life is a not-for-profit organisation that provides innovative technology for the management of HIV, as well as other infectious diseases such as TB. Cell-Life’s primary function is to address health0related logistical challenges in developing countries, such as the provision and distribution of anti-retroviral treatment, continuous patient monitoring and evaluation, and collection and communication of relevant data. This is achieved through the use and development of innovative software supported by existing technologies such as mobile phones and the internet.

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