Whenever She’s Ready, She’ll Access Her Family Planning Refresher Course


Carol Bales

IntraHealth | Communications Officer
Photo courtesy of Norbert Boruett

IVR allows more information to be communicated than a standard text message on a basic phone. Photo courtesy of Norbert Boruett.

This post originally appeared on IntraHealth's Tumblr, Picture It.

A student at the Kenya Medical Training College Kitui receives a text for a refresher course on family planning she’s taking through the K4Health project.

The course combines mobile phone and interactive voice response (IVR) technology to deliver up to 20 questions with accompanying explanations to health professional students and health workers—entirely on their mobile phones. They all previously completed courses online at the USAID-supported Global Health eLearning Center.

Whenever she’s ready, the student can listen to the day’s questions and type back her answers. She’ll receive audio feedback right away and once she’s answered all the questions correctly twice in a row, she’ll complete the course.

The IVR component has lots of benefits. It allows more information to be communicated than a standard text message on a basic phone. Participants can move through the course content according to their schedules and from anywhere. That’s especially important for health workers enrolled in the course—they can remain at their posts and continue providing care.

This type of training is key for health workers and aspiring health workers in Kenya, where women on average have 4.4 children and the unmet need for family planning is 25.6%.

IntraHealth International developed the backend technology for an IVR platform in Kenya, and supports ongoing planning and management of the course. IntraHealth also supports a consultant that’s recruiting participants like this student and ensures they’re able to participate throughout the course.

Approximately 200 participants will complete the course.