Project Lead(s): Nicholas Pearson
Kenya continues to have large gaps in the quality and continuity of postpartum maternal care. Half of mothers report receiving no postnatal care within 48 hours after childbirth, while 90% of women have unmet needs for family planning at 3 months postpartum. Low uptake of postnatal care and family planning services are major contributors to poor MNCH outcomes.
Jacaranda Health designed, deployed, and evaluated the effectiveness of an SMS postpartum checklist. The checklist was comprised of SMS messages that asked women to check for danger signs and “nudged” them to return for postnatal and family planning care.
The project leveraged the high rate of cellphone use in Kenya which was among the highest of all low-income nations. Given their popularity, cell phones were ideal channels to empower women with meaningful health information.
3 public health facilities and 900 mothers were recruited into a randomized control trial to evaluate the project’s feasibility.
Trials demonstrated that SMS nudges improved health knowledge and behavior among mothers. The project found a 58% improvement in postpartum and postnatal care seeking, 56% improvement in family planning uptake, and a 50% increase in knowledge of maternal health danger signs.
Given the success of the initial project, Jacaranda has partnered with County Governments in Kenya to deploy their innovation across different regions. The service has reached over 2,000 mothers in 3 counties across 10 public facilities. Information is now disseminated using SMS, WhatsApp, and Facebook. The innovation has added new features including messages targeting antenatal care.
The organization hopes messages and prompts will be taken over by the Kenyan Ministry of Health, while it also plans to scale to other nations.