Mobile technology-based health interventions, relying on mobile applications as an extension or supplement to care, are rapidly growing in prevalence and scope in all cultures and economies. But do these interventions really have an impact?
HITLAB is breaking ground to build the evidence base for mHealth interventions by evaluating the impact of the MOTECH program, which uses mobile phones to increase the quantity and quality of antenatal, postnatal and neonatal care in Ghana.
Ghana -- like many low and middle income countries -- suffers from high rates of maternal and infant mortality. Insufficient prenatal care, lack of attendance of a skilled practitioner at birth, and inadequate vaccinations and treatment during infancy and early childhood contribute to this burden of disease. MOTECH mobile applications are designed to alleviate the burden of maternal and infant mortality by providing information and services to both pregnant women and the community health workers who serve them.
With support from Grameen Foundation, HITLAB designed and deployed a study to evaluate the impact of the MOTECH intervention on maternal and infant mortality. HITLAB's Ghana-based field team enlisted the support of local community health workers to collect data from more than 2,000 women in remote rural districts. Launched in 2013, researchers will collect qualitative data for the duration of the 18-month study to determine the effect of the MOTECH system on health outcomes, health-seeking behavior, and knowledge, attitudes and practices among users.
The evidence base formed by HITLAB's evaluation of MOTECH will provide actionable insight on the program's impact on women and children in Ghana -- guiding the growth of MOTECH and other mHealth initiatives in Ghana, Africa and the rest of the world.
Check out the Healthy Innovations blog post on the MOTECH study for a first-person look at our field research in Ghana.