By Jamie Shuster
Providing health education to our clients and the communities that we serve is one of our top priorities at DHEC. With the rise in popularity of smart phones and texting, our outreach efforts are evolving to better serve our clients and connect more South Carolinians to health education resources by reaching out to them directly via text messages.
Starting August 1, DHEC’s regional public health teams will be launching a twelve-week challenge to enroll clients in Text4Baby, which is a free cell phone text messaging service for pregnant women and new moms. Text messages are sent three times a week with information on how to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. The text messages are timed to the pregnant woman’s due date or the baby’s date of birth.
The free text messages provide helpful tips on topics like breastfeeding, car seat safety, developmental milestones, immunizations, labor and delivery, nutrition, prenatal care, safe sleep and smoking cessation. The messages also help link moms and dads to 1-800 numbers and other resources to learn more about topics.
Currently, our maternal and child health, outreach, and regional public health teams are working together to train our staff on how to help clients sign up for this free health education service. You can view the video above to quickly learn about Text4Baby, including how to help sign up others for the service. To sign up for the service, all you have to do is text “BABY” to 511411. Spanish speakers can text “BEBE” to the same number to receive messages in Spanish.
Between August 1 and November 1 we will be tracking the number of people each of our four public health regions enroll in Text4Baby. Each week, we will provide an update here on Live Healthy SC about how many sign-ups each region has achieved. At the end of the challenge period, the public health region with the most enrollments in Text4Baby will be crowned the winner.
Thank you to Tracey McLoud, Stephanie Isaacs, and all of our public health staff who are working to train staff and kickoff this exciting health education campaign in our sites across the state.