M4M: Providing vital info for mothers in the uncertain times of Covid-19
Just before the national lockdown was implemented, a group of organisations got together to address the need for basic information and reassurance mothers were likely to experience.
Africa Melane finds out more from Dr Simone Honikman, director of the Perinatal Mental Health Project at the University of Cape Town (UCT).
It's a digital platform where information is on a website and can be spread through social media and on whatsapp.Dr Simone Honikman, Director - Perinatal Mental Health Project
We realised there was a gap in terms of reliable and helpful and supportive messaging for mothers around corona issues.Dr Simone Honikman, Director - Perinatal Mental Health Project
She says there's a lot of misinformation about the virus and its spread and especially who is at risk.
M4M's messaging covers a range of concerns, starting with physical health.
I think for pregnant women and for postnatal women, when they're very anxious quite often about the health of their families and their children, we developed physical health messaging - a whole batch of physical health messages around 'Should I still take my children for immunisation?' (of course), 'Should I breastfeed? (yes, please), 'Should I go to my clinic appointments?', 'How do I protect my children in the home when people are going out to work every day?'Dr Simone Honikman, Director - Perinatal Mental Health Project
Another messaging pillar is around mental health.
We think that mothers in the peri-natal period in pregnancy, in that first year, and perhaps mothers of small children now in lockdown are at greater risk of experiencing mental health challenges at this time.Dr Simone Honikman, Director - Perinatal Mental Health Project
Domestic violence has also increased, as we know. People are under enormous strain. Families are under strain. Violence and tempers are flaring... so we've got that domestic violence messaging and pillar under the mental health pillar.Dr Simone Honikman, Director - Perinatal Mental Health Project
M4M's messaging includes info on mindfulness and they're working on their "parenting in the pandemic" messaging.
The platform also provides appropriate helpline numbers.
Because many women do not have access to smart phones or data, the organisations have added other channels to get their message out like the community health worker system and a number of radio stations.
We've very, very pleased - we've had this wonderful win in the last few days in that the messages have been taken up on the national Covid whatsapp line... under the menu item conditions, where there is a sub-menu item called pregnant.Dr Simone Honikman, Director - Perinatal Mental Health Project
Visit www.messagesformothers.co.za for more information. (They are also looking for volunteers to help translate the messaging into more languages.)
Listen to the conversation with Dr Honikman below:
The Mother City's unique sightseeing experience has officially resumed.Read More
WhatsApp has launched a new feature that gives users the ability to cross-check those "viral" messages forwarded on the chat platform.Read More
Donors have helped raise more than R65,000 towards supporting the family of Braden Cannoo as they prepare for his funeral.Read More
Several colourful bathing boxes were destroyed in a fire at St James beach, along the False Bay coast.Read More
Premier Alan Winde says he's pushing for the alcohol ban to be lifted in the province.Read More
Judgment has been reserved in the lastest major court challenge of the ban on the sale of tobacco products.Read More
Premier Alan Winde has been locked in a meeting with his provincial Cabinet discussing a differentiated approach to the alcohol ban in the province.Read More
"The case is complicated," says Brigadier Mathapelo Peters. "I think 'bizarre' is the appropriate description."Read More
"Covid-19 is going to be with us for years. On balance, it’s better for kids to be in school," says Prof Mignon McCulloch.Read More
Legal advisor Nicholas Hall argues that the controversial the Film and Publications Amendment Bill is highly problematic.Read More