Global WACh

December 29, 2022

Mobile WACh Empower trial, aimed to evaluate SMS-based reproductive health counseling intervention among women living with HIV, launches in Kenya


Mobile WACh Empower study team members from UW Global WACh and Kenyatta National Hospital in Kenya (Credit: Alison Drake)


On December 1st, the Mobile WACh Empower randomized clinical trial launched in 10 sites in Kenya.  In this trial, the study team aims to assess whether a digital, self-administered reproductive life planning counseling tool given to women living with HIV (WLWH) at baseline and continued counseling support through the unique two-way Mobile WACh SMS platform that combines automated bulk SMS messaging and dialogue with a health care provider (the foundation for several former and ongoing Global WACh studies using mobile health technology) can reduce contraceptive discontinuation, improve dual contraceptive use, and help women plan for healthy pregnancies.  This innovative intervention was developed though stakeholder engagement in workshops held with WLWH, health care providers, and policy makers in June and November 2022.  The intervention is designed to reduce the burden for health care providers to offer reproductive counseling, tailor reproductive life planning counseling for a range of needs, and importantly, support women as their needs change over time.

The study is led by Dr. Alison Drake, Associate Professor in UW Global Health and Epidemiology, and Dr. John Kinuthia, Head of Research at Kenyatta National Hospital. Faculty co-investigators on the study include Drs. Kristin Beima-Sofie (UW Global Health), Rena Patel (UW Medicine-Allergy & Infectious Diseases), and Jennifer Unger (Women and Infants Hospital, Brown University). The study team is currently summarizing the development of the intervention and the study in manuscripts that are under development.  We look forward to sharing the study’s progress towards improved reproductive health outcomes and the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.