Using Technology to Impact Maternal and Perinatal Mental Healthcare Service Delivery in South Africa




maternal, mental health, Covid-19, mobile healthcare (mHealth), community-based primary care, technology


The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown measures to limit exposure to the virus greatly impacted healthcare service delivery. This study examined how healthcare workers’ use of technology to deliver maternal and perinatal mental healthcare in South Africa changed, and how they experienced these changes in their practice. Participants were invited to complete a self-reporting questionnaire distributed online to healthcare workers working with mothers and infants across South Africa. Sixty-six participants (n=66) completed the survey. All healthcare workers had access to mobile phones and made use of these to interact with patients. Since the national lockdown in March 2020, healthcare workers’ use of technology in their practice has expanded. Virtual consulting as an alternative or adjunct to in-person appointments increased significantly from 22.8% pre-lockdown to 59.6% during the hard lockdown, which was sustained at 61.4% after lockdown regulations were eased. Most healthcare workers (88.9%) found the increased use of technology acceptable, and 61.4% planned to continue using a blend of in-person and virtual appointments after the various stages of lockdown were lifted. The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted how maternal and perinatal mental health services are delivered in public and private settings in SA, with an overall shift towards incorporating mobile healthcare in the form of virtual consultations as standard practice, even in under-resourced communities. This trend highlights the potential of mobile healthcare to expand the reach of perinatal mental healthcare delivery to under-serviced sectors of the population.


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How to Cite

Whittaker, Tereza, and Anusha Lachman. 2023. “Using Technology to Impact Maternal and Perinatal Mental Healthcare Service Delivery in South Africa”. Africa Journal of Nursing and Midwifery 25 (2):15 pages.



Received 2023-05-11
Accepted 2023-07-03
Published 2023-07-21