One of the reasons we want to develop and disseminate the JamboMama! app is that it improves the communication between the health workers and the pregnant women. In other words, we want to bring together the demand side and the supply side.
Why is the communication poor? Because many women don’t really know much about pregnancy and childbirth, they are ‘health illiterate’. The firstline healthworkers who run the mobile anatenatal clinics are also often young and inexperienced, both in recognising symptoms of danger in pregnancy and in how to explain to the women what they need to do and why.
The application teaches the subscriber all they need to know about pregnancy and childbirth, for the healthworker in a way that helps them in their work, for the women being pregnant with more confidence and understanding.
The app informs with text and pictures about the different phases, the danger signs, nutrition and lifestyle. When the woman has a question or worries about something, she can just ask the app. She can either get a standard answer from the application’s information base itself, or she can call the healthworker of her area. The app tells the woman, step by step, what to expect at which consult; the health worker is guided through the antenatal check-ups and will do them right.
A study in Tanzania* found that only in 8% of the antenatal check-ups the official protocol was respected. We think that if the patient knows what to expect at which visit and the healthworker has instructions, it is more likely that antenatal check-ups will be carried out correctly.
Now look at it from the supply side: if the healthworker has been trained for improved quality antenatal, perinatal and postnatal care, but the women don’t appreciate it and come too late or not at all, what is the point of that training? The healthworker loses heart: the women don’t come on time, so they still die, when saving lives by skilled intervention was actually the only possible reward of the training, for seldom can the health facility afford to offer a salary raise.
This is a complaint that we heard in many nursing schools and among nurses and other medical workers who had received refresher training. They immediately saw the importance of the app in improved mutual understanding between health worker and expectant mother.
*source: USAID Report Tanzanian Health Facilities Compared 2016
This post is also available in fr_FR.