U.S. Government, Mercy Corps, and Tcell Launch Tajikistan’s First Health Messaging Service

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), together with Mercy Corps and Tcell, launched Tajikistan’s first ever health messaging service called “mHealth.” The innovative service uses mobile technology to share important health information with women and their families through text messages, voice recordings, and an information hotline that women can call to ask additional questions related to health and nutrition.

United States Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Leslie Hayden, Tcell CEO Mindaugas Ubartas, First Deputy Minister of Health Lola Bobokhojieva, and Mercy Corps Country Director Ramesh Singh participated in the event. Chargé d’Affaires Hayden noted that this service is an important example of public-private partnership in Tajikistan and emphasized that positive achievements are possible through such partnerships.

Nearly 5,000 women of reproductive age will be registered for the initial phase of the service, with a particular focus on pregnant women and women with children under the age of two. Each woman will receive two messages per week on their mobile phone on topics such as proper breastfeeding practices, infant and young child feeding, general nutrition, and family planning techniques. Additionally, 1,000 volunteer community health educators, trained through the Maternal and Child Health Project on a variety of health and nutrition topics, will help the women use and better understand these messages through health education sessions and home visits.

This activity is part of USAID’s Maternal and Child Health Project, implemented by Mercy Corps in 12 Feed the Future districts in Khatlon Province. UNICEF and Tajikistan’s Ministry of Health also provided substantial support to the development of mHealth.

USAID is the leading American government agency building social and economic prosperity together with the people of Central Asia.

Feed the Future is the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative. With a focus on smallholder farmers, particularly women, Feed the Future supports partner countries in developing their agriculture sectors to spur economic growth and trade that increase incomes and reduce hunger, poverty and undernutrition. For more information, visit www.feedthefuture.gov