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Improving infants' health via SMS reminders

Founded in 1915, Helen Keller International (HKI) is a nonprofit organization that combats the causes and consequences of blindness and malnutrition by establishing programs based on evidence and research in 21 countries in Africa and Asia, as well as in the United States.

Vitamin A is critical to protect children's sight and ability to fight off infections, yet Vitamin A deficiency in children in Senegal has been measured at 17%. Using Telerivet, HKI implemented a SMS-based system in Senegal to promote Vitamin A supplementation for children at 6 months of age and to reduce outages of Vitamin A capsules at local health posts.

HKI first conducted a census to obtain phone contacts for the parents of each child aged 0-6 months in the targeted districts, then used Telerivet to schedule reminder SMS messages to the parents on the child's 6-month birthday. Moreover, Telerivet allows each district to add children to the project as necessary by sending structured reports via SMS.

In parallel, HKI set up a SMS system for weekly stock reporting of vitamin A capsules at local health posts. In response to a weekly reminder SMS sent via Telerivet, the head of each health post reports the stock supply of vitamin A capsules and weekly usage in a specially formatted SMS message, allowing the central office to reduce outages and ensure rapid replenishment. Telerivet also allows health workers to send in free-form feedback and get timely responses to answer their needs and concerns.