Harnessing Mobile Phones for Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission

Mobile phone technology, driven by local market forces rather than foreign assistance, is spreading rapidly through Africa. Starting in 2005, researchers in Nairobi developed a clinic-based program using SMS (text messaging) to support HIV-positive pregnant women taking antiretroviral therapy (ART). The system is currently under evaluation.

This project will use a similarly structured mobile phone communications system to improve antenatal care, remind the participants to take their medication, and improve postpartum and neonatal follow-up, even when mothers deliver at home. Researchers will determine whether mobile phone text messages can enhance compliance with a known intervention (use of nevirapine) for preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV. This will be demonstrated in terms of improved antenatal care (more than four visits), increased use of nevirapine in labour (from 60% to at least 70%), fewer HIV-infected infants born to HIV-positive mothers, and earlier identification and treatment of HIV-positive infants.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Monday, January 18, 2010

End Date

Thursday, October 31, 2013


36 months

IDRC Officer

Larocque, Renee

Total funding

CA$ 288,058


North of Sahara, South of Sahara


Maternal and Child Health

Project Leader

Richard Lester


University of Manitoba

Institution Country


Institution Website


Project Leader

Peter Cherutif

Project Leader

Joshua Kimani


University of Nairobi

Institution Country


Institution Website