MOTECH: Applying mHealth Technologies to Prenatal and Postnatal Care

Mobile technology has the incredible potential to deliver healthcare solutions globally, especially in locations where computer or WiFi accessibility might be limited. Inspired by the innovative potential of mobile technology solutions, HITLAB evaluated the MOTECH program, which uses mobile phones to increase the quantity and quality of antenatal, postnatal, and neonatal care in Ghana.

A new solution to an old problem

Ghana has long suffered from high rates of both maternal and infant mortality. Expecting and new mothers face challenges such as poor prenatal care options, lack of skilled practitioners for their birth, and reduced access to vaccinations and preventative treatments during their child’s infancy. MOTECH applications attempt to alleviate the burdens these challenges present by providing information and services to pregnant women as well as the community health workers who serve them.

Connecting with people on the ground

With support from the Grameen Foundation, HITLAB designed and deployed a study to evaluate a MOTECH intervention on maternal and infant mortality.

Team members, such as Research Associate Paloma Luisi, worked closely with community health workers to collect data from more than 2,000 women in rural areas.

“Our goal was to spend a week executing on study protocol by resolving real-world issues of site selection, data collection, and implementation of the intervention,” writes Luisi. “We made site visits to the directors of both districts selected for inclusion in the study, which are located outside of Accra. The University of Ghana’s School of Public Health served as a wonderful host and provided space to work throughout the trip.”

Our research team collected qualitative data over 18 months to determine the effects of the MOTECH system on health outcomes, health seeking behavior, knowledge, attitudes, and improved 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. 

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