OpenMarket, a leading mobile messaging and payments company, has combined with the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation to deliver a world-first SMS reminder service that the organisation believes will help reduce the number of women who die from the disease.
OpenMarket’s SMS service will be used to send a reminder message to Australian women at the beginning of the month in which they are due to have their Pap testThe SMS service will function in addition to the postal reminder that women receive from state and territory health departments. The postal system relies on women alerting the department that they have moved.
“Consumers are less likely to change their mobile phone number so we believe this system is a practical, contemporary development in the ongoing fight against cervical cancer,” said ACCF Chief Executive Joe Tooma.
“With people regularly moving house and switching doctors, keeping track of medical records and receiving postal reminders from doctors is difficult. People do however, keep their mobile number for a long time – making SMS an ideal solution.”
OpenMarket is one of the world’s most dependable mobile messaging and payment solutions providers.
The Director of OpenMarket Australia, Jonathan Morgan, says that the service is very relevant in an environment where people are more mobile.
“Taking into consideration the busy lifestyles of Australian women, an SMS offering will provide an effective, non-intrusive method for the ACCF to reach Australian women,” Mr Morgan said.
Based on the convenience and popularity of mobile messaging, Mr Morgan believes the service has the potential to revolutionise the way Australian women think about their health and wellbeing.
“Mobile messaging is the most popular form of communication in the world, and with Australian females sending more than 25 million text messages per day, we believe we can provide women with an important call to action.”
The call to action is centred around the ACCF campaign Sign Up Sister! The Foundation launched the campaign on Sisters Day (November 8) – a day the ACCF hopes will become as regular on the calendar as Father’s Day and Mother’s Day.
“Sisters Day is about being with people you love whether it is your biological sister or girlfriends,” Mr Tooma said.
Sisters Day will be held annually on Oaks Day – the Thursday after the Melbourne Cup. “We want women to embrace the day and if they do go to the races that is great but it is also about women getting together to celebrate life. We hope that everyone – male or female – wears something orange on the day to help spread the word.”
To sign up to the free SMS service, women go to www.accf.org.au/signupsister to register. Women nominate the date that they wish to be reminded and enter their mobile phone number. They will receive a text message every two years reminding them to see their doctor and have a Pap test.
“For women that do not have a regular doctor that they visit, Sign Up Sister may be their sole reminder – making it a crucial component in the pursuit of cervical cancer prevention,” Mr Tooma said.
The OpenMarket messaging software package provides ACCF with the functionality to autonomously manage an enormous database of mobile phone numbers by scheduling high volumes of text messages.
“Obviously we hope every Australian woman aged from 18 to 70 signs up for the service but we have an initial target of 10,000 and we are well on the way,” Mr Tooma said.
The ACCF/OpenMarket initiative comes amidst the release of frightening statistics which show that 43 per cent of Australian women are defying medical advice and are not having their Pap test every two years.
It is estimated that 90 per cent of women who die from cervical cancer are those that have not had their pap tests regularly.
Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women worldwide, and women in Australia have more than 110,000 abnormal Pap tests every year, which if left undiagnosed could lead to cervical cancer.