Development and testing of “M-Mimba”: a mobile phone platform exclusively designed for pregnant women to provide innovative transport solutions and birth preparedness messages

Organization: 
African Population and Health Research Center
Organization Location: 
Nairobi, Kenya

Kenya has registered the lowest percentage decline in maternal mortality ration among the USAID 24 priorities countries; 17% between 1990 and 2013. An overwhelming percentage of women in rural hard-to-reach communities continue to deliver at home without skilled attendance. To address the problem of low uptake of skilled delivery and improve maternal outcomes, the Kenyan Government introduced the Free Maternal Care in 2013, removing fees for delivery in all public health facilities. For the new free maternity care policy to deliver its expected impact, strategies to overcome transport and cultural barriers to skilled delivery  ? the missing link ?  are urgently needed. The project proposed is a demand-side innovation aiming at empowering pregnant women (and their families) to save money for transport, access health information and remote consultation during pregnancy, and reach out for quality health care during childbirth and the early postnatal period. This will be achieved using a mobile-phone platform specifically designed for pregnant women (“M-Mimba”) and a behavioral change approach (culturally-specific birth preparedness messages and incentivizing stories). Empowering pregnant women and their families to willingly save money for transport will be a significant improvement from the dependency on hardly sustainable vouchers program. The platform will also provide an alternative entry door to reinforce birth preparedness and complication readiness messages.

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