Safe Pregnancy and Birth App Field Tested by Health Workers in Chiapas
During the second annual World Health Worker Week, April 7-11, 2014, we are celebrating the women and men who save lives and raising awareness of health workforce issues. This post by Julia Nakad of K4Health partner Hesperian Health Guides shares their recent experience evaluating a safe pregnancy and birth app among health workers in Chiapas, Mexico. For most of the community health workers, midwives, clinic staff, and community members in the rural region, this was their first time using a mobile health app.
Chiapas is one of the most marginalized and rural regions of Mexico, and faces unique barriers to improving maternal and child health. According to The Global Pediatric Alliance, Chiapas is plagued with a maternal death rate which is four times the average of the rest of the nation. The majority of the population lives below the poverty line, and with a 25% illiteracy rate, residents face significant challenges accessing quality preventative medical care and information.
Fortunately, thanks to the work of Compañeros en Salud (CES),a sister branch of Partners in Health, local health care providers are receiving training and medical supplies, and are able to reach out to more patients than ever before through home visits.
Hesperian is excited to have recently partnered with CES to field-test our mobile app, “Safe Pregnancy and Birth”. CES held two field-test sessions with community health workers, midwives, clinic staff, and community members to evaluate and solicit feedback on the content and usability of the app. With the exception of the clinical staff (who use tablets for data collection), participants had never used a mobile health app before.
Field-test feedback was overall very positive of the app, and participants found it to be user friendly and the information clear and accessible. Specifically, they valued the “How-To” section, which provides practical skill demonstrations, such as checking a baby’s position. They also appreciated the sections on “Staying Healthy During Pregnancy” and “Warning Signs During Pregnancy,” which they say provide useful preventative information for participants. It seems as though the participants found the information to be as actionable, practical, and useful, as a recent mHIFA review had anticipated. On the whole, the CES reflected that the app was “an excellent teaching and learning tool that will undoubtedly be a benefit to many people around the world by empowering them with useful and practical information for caring for a pregnant woman and her baby before, during, and after delivery.”
The field-test also provided a great deal of useful and constructive feedback for Hesperian for future updates and development of additional apps. This feedback included helpful suggestions for making the content even more accessible to those with fewer literacy skills, and advice on developing an emergency plan, in case one occurs. This feedback is incredibly helpful for refining the design and content of this and future apps.
If you or any organizations you know of have used “Safe Pregnancy and Birth” in your fieldwork, we would love to hear about your experiences! Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with your stories.