Sierra Leone: mHealth for Maternal and Newborn Health in Resource-Poor Community and Health Systems Settings

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From mHealthinfo.org, an initiative by a team of people from different departments at the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), The Netherlands, with initial input from TextToChange (TTC).

The main rationale for using mHealth as a strategy is to improve access to services, disease diagnosis and treatment, quality of care and cost-effectiveness. The available literature identifies a number of areas where mobile phone technology, usually as part of a broader set of interventions, potentially can make a difference in favour of maternal and newborn health. However, few scientific studies have been undertaken that evaluate health outcomes.

Sierra Leone is in the bottom rankings of the Human Development Index with unacceptably high maternal and child mortality rates. In this context and given the perceived potential of mHealth, the Sierra Leonean partners Ministry of Health and Sanitation, the University of Sierra Leone and the Medical Research Centre teamed up with the Royal Tropical InstituteText to Change andYozuMannion to jointly submit a winning research proposal for Phase 1 of the DFID ‘New and Emerging Technologies Research Competition’, called ‘mHealth for maternal and newborn health in resource-poor community and health systems settings – Sierra Leone’.

The proposal objective for Phase 1 was to assess the feasibility of introducing and operating selected mobile communication technologies for improved provider-initiated communication on maternal and newborn health in a fragile health system in resource-poor community and health system settings; the outcome was a research proposal. Phase 2, which is starting in November 2011, consists of implementing the Phase 1 research proposal.

The reports resulting from Phase 1:

 


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