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Pregnant Chat Line

A platform where pregnant women can call and share their stories

Photo of Justin Kim
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Inspired by Haiyan's Mum 2 Mum Chat line, this idea was derived from my own teenager experience in the mid 90's, when internet was still at the development stage and I had one of those ancient (but proud!) mobile phones. I remember I used to listen to a local radio station before I went to sleep, and there was an advert about a chat line, saying if I called that number, I could chat to local girls.

Being young and curious, I couldn't resist the temptation but to give a try. The procedure was simple, I call the number, record a introduction message and receive the number for my own voice mail box. Then I could leave voice message to any girls whose intro was interesting. If they liked what I said, they could get back to me by leaving a message back on my voice mail box in their mean time.

Although the phone bill caused my mobile to be confiscated by parents after a month, this chat line however did provide me with an opportunity to communicate with local ladies(?). I am wondering, if this concept could be implied on improving maternal awareness amongst pregnant woman in low income countries.

By reading Chandra Bala's "Thoughts from a retired doctor" from inspiration sector, I can understand that many pregnant women in traditional cultures are isolated from the access to communicate and share knowledge with other pregnant women. Mother in law with 'I had 6 kids in my days without any help' attitude would be likely to be only source to rely on, which is believed to be not the most ideal for a mother-to-be and new born baby. (It is reported that 70% percent of the India's babies are born at home)

Word of mouth and storytelling in India is women's ways of sharing their experiences, so give them the platform for the voice and the ears. Mobile internet and smart phones may not be available, but India mobile phone penetration rate is high - a research suggests it would reach 97 percent in 2014 - and they can make a simple phone call.

It will have to be a free call number, funded by either governments or N.G.O, - or maybe there is another clever way to raise money for this - then they can share their stories and symptoms through their voice mail box system. Say, approximately 4 months pregnant woman can gather information from someone who is 5 months pregnant, but they can tell their stories to someone who is 3 months pregnant, and so on. It doesn't have to be a direct one on one conversation as there would be a voice mail box, which users can connect in their convenient time.

This will not only provide pregnant women to share their stories, but it can be used to gather statistics of pregnant women for the government to track what's really happening and how.

Source : - a Canadian midwife working in India - Mobile phone in India

What is the minimum level of mobile technology needed for this concept?

Being able to make a phone call

How could this work in a low-literacy context?

Charu is a 21 years old girl living in a small rural town called Kukshi in north India. She thinks she is 3 months pregnant, (she can only guesstimate) and she is really curious what kind of changes her body would go though but she doesn't have a clue. Currently she's having terrible morning sickness and her mother in law told her to drink some traditional tea, but that made the situation worse, she couldn't even drink water for two days.
 Then Charu found out about free Chat line service for pregnant women. Her husband bought her a classic Nokia 1100 last year, so she gave it a try. Then, she could hear many introductions of other local pregnant women indicating how long they have been pregnant for. Charu then found a girl named Nagina who is 5 months pregnant. Charu left a voice mail into her box asking how long her morning sickness lasted, and what she did to calm it down. A day later, Charu checked her voice mail box, and found out she received a message from Nagina, explaining her method to stop the sickness. Also, she received another voice mail from other girl who is 2 months pregnant, asking what kind of symptoms she would be expecting in a coming month. Charu smiles, and leave her with her own story, and tell her to avoid the traditional tea which her mother in law made for her.

Which partners could help realise and deliver this solution?

  • Oxfam
  • Nokia
  • Mobile operators
  • NGOs
  • Government

Inspired by (1)

Mum-2-Mum Chatline

This inspired (1)

Free Midwife Hotline

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Photo of Meena

Loving your concept and confessional Justin ;^) And your visualisations – noting that you're a researcher – I can certainly see you're a very human-centered one!