Sara Jerving – Christian Science Monitor – Friday, 18 July 2014 (originally published 16 Jul)
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – I walked into the Esselen clinic in Hillbrow, Johannesburg on a recent morning to find around 40 women and their newborn babies crowded together on rows of wooden chairs. They were waiting for a health worker to call them into another room where a chorus of cries could be heard — the sound of babies being stuck with vaccination needles.
Some of the women had arrived at the health clinic as early as 6:30 in the morning, standing in line outside in the winter cold, aiming to be the first to enter when the doors opened at 8 a.m. Those women lucky enough to get in sat patiently for hours, rocking their babies and playing with their cell phones.
Mandla Goshwa, a 24-year-old health worker, interrupted their chatter in the noisy space as he stood at the front of the room and told the women about a free health text messaging service called the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA). Mothers who elect to subscribe to the service, he said, receive text messages twice a week that deliver advice on how to care for their child. If the women are pregnant, they receive tips on prenatal care . . .