Health Workers Use New Mobile Application to Improve Contraceptive Prevalence in Benin

The Partnership for Community Management of Child Health (PRISE-C) project recently piloted an innovative mobile health (mHealth) application among community health workers (CHWs) and health center staff to improve contraceptive prevalence in Benin’s Toffo and Zè communes. The “Texting for Maternal Wellbeing” pilot equipped seven CHWs and two health center staff (a midwife and a nurse) with mobile phones with an application for data collection and case management.

 

After receiving family planning and mHealth training, the CHWs and health center staff used the application to register clients for family planning services, record each client’s chosen method, and monitor the method’s effects. The workers also used the application’s images and audio messages to counsel clients. The messages, adapted from the Ministry of Health’s family planning counseling tool kit, are in the local language.

During the four-month pilot (February–May 2013), 264 women/ couples received family planning counseling. Of these, 225 had their family planning session with a CHW who referred them to a health center to receive a family planning method. Seventy-two of them (or 32% of the smaller number) went to the health center to meet with a health worker and 68 (or 30%) adopted a family planning method. These findings demonstrate the potential this type of mHealth approach has to significantly improve contraceptive prevalence in the country (see box). The project will share the findings and lessons learned with the Ministry of Health, which will decide whether to expand the activity to other regions.

Dimagi, a social enterprise that makes software to improve healthcare in developing countries, funded the pilot through the CORE Group, an organization that works to improve and expand community- focused public health practices for underserved populations worldwide. Dimagi also developed the mobile application.

URC’s non-profit affiliate, the Center for Human Services (CHS), manages PRISE-C in collaboration with local partner Centre d’Expertise et d’Ingenierie Durable. The USAID-funded project uses innovative strategies to improve maternal and child health and strengthen the health system workforce and community health systems.

Date 
October 08, 2013
Authors 
Sara Riese, Research Advisor, USAID Translating Research into Action Project; Yetondji Houeyetongnon, Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, PRISE-C; and Niambi Wilder, Communications Specialist, URC
Regions/ Countries