Successful Fem launch highlights need for access to safe abortion in Gauteng

After much work and anticipation, Fem launched in Gauteng on March 03, 2017, one of the nine provinces of South Africa. On launch day, our SMS based referral campaign was in place, our social media platforms were live, and our first press release was sent out to different media houses in order to help spread the word about our exciting new brand. We are nearing the end of our first month, and Fem has already referred close to 300 women to safe abortion services.

Our intentions will always be focused on ensuring that the choice of women in South Africa comes with access to accurate information and quality service at safe and legal health facilities. Our first few weeks have shown us that our approach to increasing access to safe, legal abortion care has already, and will continue to, have an inarguable impact on women’s lives.

Let’s take a look at the numbers: we saw over 400 individuals begin the referral campaign. More than 60% of those ended up with a referral. Each week has seen a steady and positive increase in the use of and interaction with our SMS referral platform.

Local media contributed significantly to increasing our reach. We engaged with journalists and radio hosts in order to help spread the word about Fem. Media outlets helped us package and deliver our message and the news about our tool to a wider audience. After initiating these relationships, we quickly saw Fem attract media coverage of all kinds–print, radio, and online publications were interested in promoting our tool and in bringing information to women around South Africa. Fem received coverage on a number of community radio stations as well as on some larger platforms such as Star Newspaper and SAFM.

[Online publication- Name: City Press, Link: http://city-press.news24.com/News/safe-and-legal-abortion-at-your-fingertips-20170301]

We felt a high level of support and backing after our interaction with the media, which was comforting considering the media coverage was our first interaction with the general public, and because we are dealing with a sensitive topic. Our interview on the radio station Eldos FM went so well that they requested we make another appearance. This request is particularly exciting since Eldos FM is a community radio station that caters to a mix of black and colored populations in the low to middle class bracket–a critical population to Fem. Another exciting highlight is small community radio station Vukani FM insisting we speak with them even though they are located in Eastern Cape and Fem has only launched in Gauteng. These interactions have shown us just how needed Fem is in communities across all of South Africa.

Our plans for the future include expanding the referral campaign in Gauteng, expanding the referral campaign country-wide, and increasing our promotional and marketing activities. In addition to our current campaign, we will soon introduce the Feedback Campaign which will allow women to give feedback on their experience receiving service at the health facilities where they were referred from Fem.

Our team is eager to keep working to save the lives of South African women. Want to keep up with our updates? Follow us on Facebook (https://web.facebook.com/FemRSA/?fref=ts) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/Fem_RSA).

Read more:

BLOG POST 1 – Title How South Africa’s Reality is Impacting our mHealth Tool and link: https://safe2choose.org/south-africas-reality-impacting-mhealth-tool/

BLOG POST 2 – Tittle: Safe abortion closer for South African women: the countdown to launch, Link: https://safe2choose.org/safe-abortion-closer-south-african-women-countdown-launch/