Many reproductive health programs in Ghana target young people in school because they are thought to be very vulnerable. This means those that are out of school do not benefit or receive very little reproductive messages from uninformed friends because most parents do not discuss sexual related issues with their children.
To bridge this gap, Savana Signatures, an ICT for Development (ICT4D) organization in Ghana, launched a project dubbed Sexual Health Reproductive Plus (SHE+), yesterday in Tamale to educate young people and provide information on their Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR).
A press release from Savana Signatures and signed by its Chief Executive Office, John Steven Agbenyo, said “the platform is free and allows young people both male and female with mobile phones to access and seek for SRHR information”.
The statement recalled that in 2013, Savana Signatures launched the SHE platform that offered youth the opportunity to access SRHR information using their mobile phones.
“SHE+ has additional features to provide more opportunities to young people in the Northern and Volta Regions of Ghana to have easy access to Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights information and to have direct contact with health professionals on their SRHR needs”, it said.
According to the release, very few out of school youth have access to reproductive Health information necessary to guide them to make well informed choices in life on sexual related issues.
The SHE and SHE+ Project forms part of Savana Signatures Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights strategy which is to ensure that “The quality of health care for expectant mothers is improved through ICT use by health professionals, and young men and women are asserting their rights to Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) information” thereby contributing to augment the government of Ghana’s drive to achieving the MDG5 (Target 5.B – Achieve, by 2015, universal access to reproductive health), it said
To this end, the SHE and SHE+ project seek to use the ICT tool most available to the youth of today, which is the mobile phone, to provide young people with direct access to SRHR information they seek to live healthier lives.
They also seek to create a platform for young people to have easy access to Health professional on daily basis for assistance on their SRHR needs on the mobile platform and guide young people with information about health facilities in their communities where they can access services on their SRHR needs.
To assess the SHE platform which is free, all a user of a mobile need to do is to create new message on his or her phone, type the word SHE and send to 7000 if the person is using MTN or 1904 for Airtel, Vodafone or Expresso.
A welcome message will be received shortly welcoming you to the platform as well as to provide you guidelines on how to use the platform.
Messages are sent upon request and to access information on any of the topics on the platform, simply reply with the number of the topic; e.g. for pregnancy for boys and girls, reply 11.
To access SHE+, users can simply dial the following numbers to get connected to a health professional who would assist them on their SRHR needs. Dial 0233778855 to interact with a health professional in the Northern region or 0233778889 to interact with a health professional in the Volta region.