The unmet need for contraception in Kenya in the postpartum period, or months following childbirth, is high. This unmet need contributes to poor maternal and child health outcomes, and impedes women’s empowerment.
Mobile WACh XY is a two-arm randomized controlled trial (RCT) comparing the effect of bidirectional SMS dialogue vs. control on highly effective contraceptive use at 6 months postpartum among individual women and couple dyads in Nyanza Province, Kenya. The study builds upon the experience of other Global WACh mHealth studies using a text messaging platform that pushes automated messages containing critical information at crucial times and allows users to respond and converse with a health professional about their individual needs. Mobile WACh XY differentiates itself in the family planning arena by including an emphasis on male partner involvement and couple communication. Male partners need to be invited to participate in the study, given the desire to include men while continuing to promote women’s reproductive autonomy.
The XY team is led by Drs. Elizabeth Harrington, Jennifer Unger and John Kinuthia. This Global WACh study team completed its first week of training in Kisumu, Kenya last week. Over the next 6 months they will enroll 220 women in the study, and up to 220 men—depending on female participants’ preferences. Information gathered will provide insight into the effectiveness of an mHealth strategy to help meet women’s and couples’ postpartum contraceptive needs, and have policy implications for postpartum family planning programming.
Congratulations to everyone involved! We look forward to sharing your progress.