The Mobile WACh mHealth platform is the foundation of multiple studies under the Family Planning Decision Support Scientific Priority Area. The system allows for both automated sending of tailored health-related SMS messages and two-way SMS interaction between participants and a health care provider in low- to middle-income countries.
The patient, Gertude, receives automated and personalized messages from a nurse through the Mobile WACh platform regarding her infant’s health. Source: Brenda Daroka (Kenyatta National Hospital), East African Science & Technology Commission Conference presentation
Originally designed to use SMS text messaging as a means to keep expectant mothers informed and involved in the health of themselves and their babies, the platform provides new and innovative opportunities to promote family planning at critical time points. Family planning allows women to determine whether and when to have children, enhancing their educational and employment prospects. This, in turn, improves their income levels, family stability, and mental well-being, while contributing to improved health outcomes for themselves and their children.
We’re pleased to share recent achievements contributed by the Mobile WACh platform.
On Tuesday, May 28th, 2019 at the UW Husky Union Building Lyceum, Global WACh hosted its annual “Next Big Thing” year-end celebration to highlight the achievements of the Center over the past year in research, training, and service. This year’s theme was “Putting Women at the Center of Family Planning Innovations.” Drs. Alison Drake and Jennifer Unger, co-directors of Global WACh’s Family Planning Decision Support Scientific Priority Area, invited collaborators across the Departments of Global Health, Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN), and Epidemiology to showcase their emerging expertise and partnerships in family planning efforts and advancements. Dr. Christine Dehlendorf of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), gave the keynote address on advocating for providers to move towards person-centered and justice-informed family planning care to better support women’s contraceptive needs and choices.
In setting with high HIV prevalence, early antenatal care (ANC) visits are vital to optimize HIV testing and prevention services to reduce maternal and pediatric mortality and morbidity. Late ANC attendance limits timely identification and delivery of HIV prevention services including pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) among pregnant women at high risk for HIV infection. To fill this gap, researchers are looking for ways to encourage pregnant women to seek ANC early and improve maternal and child health outcomes. In Kenya, community pharmacies, also known as drug shops or chemists, are playing an increasingly important role as sources of over-the-counter sexual and reproductive health products, including urine pregnancy tests and HIV self-testing kits. These pharmacies offer important and under-utilized access points to ANC and HIV prevention care for women and have the potential to inform a new innovative PrEP delivery model.
Dr. Melissa Mugambi (Assistant Professor, Department of Global Health, Implementation Science Program) received a National Institutes for Health (NIH) Diversity Supplement Award to lead a study on the feasibility of engaging community pharmacy providers in the distribution of pregnancy tests and subsequent referral of pregnant women to ANC, in order to promote early access to ANC and PrEP.