Project Masiluleke

Exhibition: Cities | October 10, 2011 by

South Africa has more HIV-positive citizens than any country in the world. The province of KwaZulu Natal is among the most affected, with infection rates of more than 40%. Project Masiluleke (meaning “hope” and “warm counsel” in Zulu) is a collaboration in KwaZulu Natal by the U.S.-based design firm frog, the HIV/TB service organization iTEACH, mobile-based solution incubator Praekelt Foundation, social innovation network PopTech, and telecommunications company MTN South Africa. Since close to 90% of South Africans own a mobile phone, Project Masiluleke uses mobile technology to raise awareness, encourage testing, and guide people into care.

The project’s first phase delivered one million “Please Call Me” (PCM) messages a day in local languages, driving users to HIV call centers for information, counseling, and referrals for testing and treatment. The PCM messages—a type of free SMS messaging unique to Africa and primarily used by low-income communities—have resulted in over 1.5 million calls to the country’s national AIDS helpline. The project’s second phase focuses on delivering testing and counseling services in people’s homes, encouraging earlier diagnosis and treatment. The free HIV self-testing kit features simple instructions that rely on minimal literacy and provides a message of health and wellness. Its components can be easily assembled, enabling a scalable solution. The kit includes a number to free counseling that supports the testing process and diagnosis.

Designers: Tony Meredith, Nick De LaMare, Robert Fabricant, Rachel Regina, Yoo-Jung Kim, Sean Lee, Michele Tepper, Jennifer Bettendorff, Ben Fineman, and Allison Conner, frog. Collaborators: iTeach, Praekelt Foundation, Poptech, MTN, Ghetto Ruff. KwaZulu Natal settlement, South Africa, 2007–present. Folded card stock, digital or screen-print graphics, SD Bioline HIV 1/2 3.0 test pouch containing: test device, absorbent packet, Sensa HIV-1/2/0 Tri-lin test pouch containing: test device, absorbent packet, assay dilutent, pipette, lancet, alcohol swab

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