Global WACh

Family Planning

February 15, 2024

New project aims to expand access to sexual and reproductive health care in South King County

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Starting this February, Dr. Arianna Means (Assistant Professor, Global Health) and Chloe Morozoff (PhD Student, Global Health) will work in partnership with Public Health—Seattle & King County (PHSKC) to optimize sexual and reproductive health care (SRH) for patients, particularly English Language Learners and uninsured individuals who encounter barriers to accessing healthcare, in South King County, WA. (more…)

May 26, 2023

Global WACh participates in the DGH LAPIS Symposium

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On May 19th in the Hans Rosling Center, the Learning for Action in Policy Implementation and Health Systems (LAPIS) Initiative–a resource hub aiming to foster collaboration across the Department of Global Health and support the integration of health policy or health systems objectives into research grants and training–held its first event in the Global Health Systems and Policy Implementation Symposium Series.  The event included lightning talk sessions, poster abstract sessions, and opportunities for networking. Multiple centers, programs, and initiatives of the department, including Global WACh, participated in the symposium to showcase their efforts in health systems strengthening, policy implementation research, and education and training. (more…)

December 29, 2022

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

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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. (more…)

New study will develop novel approach to measure fertility intentions among Kenyan women

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Closeup of pregnancy test and contraceptive pills birth control concept

Measuring fertility intentions, which pertain to ideal family size and desire for additional children, is complex and may be influenced by contextual factors and culture, and beliefs held by individuals that drive their attitudes and behaviors. Most existing fertility intention scales are designed to classify women with binary measures, such as having an intended or unintended pregnancy, and do not allow for the spectrum of feelings that women might have, including ambivalent feelings about pregnancy. (more…)

August 3, 2022

Mobile WACh NEO randomized controlled trial achieves milestone to enroll 5,020 research participants

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Newborn care practices and interventions are available to support neonatal survival, but coverage remains a challenge in sub-Saharan Africa, where neonatal mortality is unacceptably high. Many newborns continue to die at home without health care services being sought. The reasons are multifactorial, at the societal, health system, and family levels. Delays recognizing illness and deciding to seek care contribute to up to 80% of neonatal and child deaths. (more…)

March 6, 2020

Winter Quarter Certificate Student Spotlight: Kristen Trivelli, Doctorate of Nurse Practitioner Student

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Kristen Trivelli, a third-year Family Nurse Practitioner doctoral student in the School of Nursing and current Global WACh Certificate student, traveled to Zimbabwe in summer of 2018 to complete her certificate capstone on breastfeeding education.  The World Health Organization (WHO) considers the benefits associated with breastfeeding so valuable that it is the recommended feeding method for mothers and infants worldwide for the first six months of the infants’ lives.  However, current research shows exclusive breastfeeding rates are low in Zimbabwe.  With the support of the Department of Global Health’s GO-Health Fellowship, Kristen sought to understand how breastfeeding education is provided from the perspective of nurses, and how parents receive this education in Zimbabwe.  She designed and led her own qualitative study and hopes to share her findings with stakeholders to improve exclusive breastfeeding rates in the country. (more…)

February 3, 2020

Predoctoral Research Fellow, Claire Rothschild, receives NICHD fellowship award focused on women’s reproductive health in Kenya

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Claire Rothschild, a third-year doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology, received a National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) F31 pre-doctoral fellowship to support her dissertation research on using mobile technology to improve family planning data and outcomes in Kenya.  In collaboration with PATH-Kenya and Kenyatta National Hospital, Claire’s research focuses on better understanding when and why women discontinue and switch methods of contraception, with the specific goal of identifying factors that predict dissatisfaction and early discontinuation of contraceptive methods among women who do not wish to become pregnant. (more…)

June 11, 2019

Family Planning Decision Support teams publishes findings from Mobile WACh XY and receives funding for new Mobile WACh NEO trial

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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. (more…)

May 30, 2019

Global WACh’s Next Big Thing 2019: Putting Women at the Center of Family Planning Innovations

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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. (more…)

April 24, 2019

Can community pharmacies in Kenya improve early access to antenatal and HIV prevention care? Dr. Melissa Mugambi awarded NIH Diversity Award to explore feasibility

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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. (more…)