mHealth

  • Blog post
    PMA2020/Kenya Total Fertility Rate

    Kenya’s Ministry of Health announced recent findings from PMA2020/Kenya, an innovative mobile-phone-based survey, that show the impressive progress made by Kenya’s national family planning programs in recent years.  Since the most recent Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (KDHS) in 2008, the modern contraceptive prevalence rate among married women has risen dramatically from 39.4 to 55.4%; representing a 16% point rise over six years.  PMA2014/Kenya also found marked increases in the use of more effective methods, with the proportion of married women who are using implants shifting from 1.9% to 20.1% of the method mix.  

    Another measure of success besides an increase in contraceptive prevalence rate is a decrease in total fertility rate (TFR) or average number of births per woman. The survey found that the TFR in Kenya has steadily declined from 4.6 in 2008 to 3.5 in 2014.  In addition, unmet need for family planning has dropped from 26% in 2008 to 21% in 2014, with 12% of married women wanting to delay their next birth and 9% wanting no more children.  The unmet need is highest for women in the poorest wealth quintile. The survey also found an almost 17 percentage point increase among married women in the demand satisfied by modern methods, from 55% in 2008 to 72% in 2014.

  • Blog post
    Indian children interact with mHealth service

    Children in Kanpur, India, listen on a mobile phone to Sesame Workshop radio content with health messaging. ©2013 Francis Gonzales, Courtesy of Photoshare

    Today we launch mHealth Knowledge (www.mHealthKnowledge.org). Tomorrow we’ll work to gather, generate, synthesize, and learn more—with your help.

    The Knowledge for Health (K4Health) Project is pleased to announce the launch of mHealth Knowledge—a portal to K4Health’s resources on mobile health (mHealth). You can now find all of K4Health’s mHealth products in one location.

    mHealth Knowledge is simple by design—you only need a few minutes to explore what’s there. The site features the four existing components of K4Health’s mHealth portfolio—the mHealth Basics eLearning Course, the mHealth Planning Guide, the mHealth Evidence Database, and the mHealth Working Group—along with a news center highlighting the latest hot topics in mHealth, sourced by K4Health staff and our community partners.

  • Blog post

    For thousands of people living in rural Bangladesh, Health Assistants (HAs) and Family Welfare Assistants (FWAs)—collectively called field workers—are the first line of health care, and for many, the only cadre of health professional they have access to for health, population and nutrition (HPN) information and services. It therefore becomes very important that these field workers have the necessary skills and confidence to provide quality counseling services.

    Field Workers in Bangladesh with their Netbooks

    Field workers in Bangladesh with their netbooks.

    Credit: Vanessa Mitchell

    The Bangladesh Knowledge Management Initiative (BKMI) implemented an eHealth pilot whereby 300 field workers (150 HAs and 150 FWAs), mostly women, received netbook computers loaded with digital resources (brochures, flipcharts, videos, job aids, etc.) and eLearning courses to facilitate HPN counseling and also improve their own knowledge. The results are in, and knowledge levels for both FWs and mothers in communities increased dramatically across HPN during the short 3.5 month implementation period.

    Just as important, and not a finding we necessarily expected, is that the netbooks empowered the field workers. During our routine monitoring, the research team conducted interviews with FWs and found that having the technology and a wealth of information at their fingertips made them feel proud, confident, and important. In fact, the elevated confidence observed from having the netbook actually changed how members of the community perceived them. Their improved social status resulted in more people seeking out HPN services from them.

  • Blog post
    A health worker in Goa uses a PDA

    A health worker in Goa, India, uses a PDA sponsored by Sangath Society.

    © 2009 Frederick Noronha, Courtesy of Photoshare

    It was January 2009 at Georgetown University’s Institute for Reproductive Health (IRH). We had just put the finishing touches on a concept note, detailing what at the time felt like a harebrained idea: women are increasingly using mobile phones, so why not use them as a family planning tool? Why couldn’t a method of family planning be available, right in the palm of women’s hands?

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