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ChatSalud

ChatSalud is an opt-in SMS system connecting Nicaraguan youth to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) information and local health services via mobile phones. Studies show one in four adolescent girls will become pregnant before the age of nineteen, while the prognosis rises to one in three in rural areas. Many adolescents avoid conventional health centres due to a perceived lack of confidentiality. Using a number of research methods to ensure a participatory design process, ChatSalud developed content which is more interactive, dynamic and attractive to a youth audience. With nearly 90% of Nicaraguans having access to a basic cell phone, a public-private partnership with a cell phone carrier makes ChatSalud free to the user and accessible regardless of socio-economic status. It is a completely automated system, powered through a mobile platform on a local server connected to the mobile carrier through a VPN.

Arising from a collaboration between public and private groups including Peace Corps Volunteers and the Nicaraguan Red Cross and harnessing the ubiquity and anonymity of mobile phones, ChatSalud currently covers themes such as HIV/AIDS, safer sex and gender violence, with plans to expand content to address family planning methods and sexually transmitted infections. ChatSalud empowers young men and women to take charge of their SRH, as well as to be responsible partners into adulthood.