Going mobile: Using phones to connect young people to clinics

20 July 2018
Youth explore the iloveLife platform. © UNFPA South Africa

South Africa is still experiencing the world's largest and fastest growing HIV epidemic with approximately 288,400 new infections a year.* Almost 60% of all new HIV infections occur amongst adolescent girls and young women between the ages of 15 and 24. 

Launched by the NGO loveLife - the largest organization on youth HIV prevention in the country - the iloveLife platform is an innovative cell-phone based system for young people offering interactive information on sexual and reproductive health and rights and connecting young people with clinical health services and facilities with the ultimate aim of promoting healthy lifestyles.

Through the support of the Innovation Fund, UNFPA added a clinic locator and rating system to the existing mobisite, iloveLife. The objective was to connect young people with clinical health services and facilities that offer youth-friendly services increasing both preventative care as well as treatment.

Adolescent girls attending the iloveLife launch. © UNFPA South Africa

Following the visits to the health clinics, young people can share insights on the services they receive and promote quality improvement through a rating system. The system is also designed for healthcare facilities to monitor and track the number of young people accessing services and assess which services are most in demand in their community.

A total of 40 clinic facilities were part of the programme in Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal. More than 80,000 young people have accessed the platform and engaged in the various activities available (articles, quizzes, radio shows, polls).

Following the success of the platform, the Department of Health and loveLife agreed to merge ilovelife and the government-led B-Wise platform to have one integrated mHealth solution for the country. This integration will ensure a greater coverage and reach of young people as well as avoid the duplication of efforts and competition between similar platforms. UNFPA will continue to provide technical support and ensure that the lessons learned guide the future of the integrated platform, in addition to promoting the initiative in the community.

*Key Indicators Report, South Africa Demographic Health Survey 2016