Global WACh Associate Director Dr. Jennifer Unger gave a great talk last week about the implementation of mobile phones in the care of pregnant women in Mathare, Kenya. Three hundred women are currently participating in the study, which aims to use SMS text messaging as a means to keep the expectant mothers informed and involved in the health of themselves and their babies.
Text messages from a nurse at the clinic offer tips and general information, as well as answers for any health questions the participants may have. The messaging system also provides appointment reminders and a way to check in to see how they’re feeling. Perhaps most importantly according to the women in the study, the messages offer encouragement and support while allowing them to feel cared for and empowered.
Many countries have some version of mHealth in place, and Dr. Unger stressed the importance of working together and also making the messages culturally appropriate and tailored to each individual community. This particular study is completely free for the participants.
The findings in Mathare, Kenya will lay the foundation for a larger Global WACh study on using mHealth to enhance the prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV. The results of the Mobile WACh study should be available in the spring, and we’re certainly looking forward to sharing them.