The following is part of a series of project updates from mothers2mothers. MHTF is supporting their project, Using Cell Phones in PMTCT. More information MHTF supported projects can be found here.
Written by: mothers2mothers
mothers2mothers (m2m) continues to explore the feasibility and operationalisation of active client follow-up (ACFU) activities as part of its facility-based PMTCT education and support program, with the aim of encouraging women to return to and remain in care. This phase of the project is focusing on conducting pilot activities in Malawi and Zambia to inform m2m’s plans for scale up and integration of ACFU across all of the organisation’s programs. The Malawi team is in the process of engaging with country and site data to support the identification of pilot sites as well as identifying key PMTCT indicators for client follow up, focusing on those indicators that will have the most impact on PMTCT and maternal and child health . The tools used to conduct the pilot and ACFU itself continue to be developed and refined for the Malawi context through consultative workshops, utilizing good practices from internal and external ACFU resources. A similar exercise will be carried out for m2m’s Zambian program.
This process of planning for scale up has stressed the importance of local context in understanding need for follow up, as well as identifying challenges to follow up, such as women’s limited access to mobile phones. Mobile phone data is dynamic in nature and often difficult to interpret for specific groups, like women, within communities. Issues such as cultures of shared phones have an impact on the actual access women have to mobile phones. This becomes increasingly important as mobile phones are being used in poverty and health interventions to a greater extent throughout the developing world. Women and Mobile, a report from the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and the GSMA Development Fund, speaks to the gender gap in mobile phone ownership. Women and Mobile estimates that the gender gap is 23% or 33 million women in sub-Saharan Africa. Clearly, this has serious implications for telephonic interventions with women, whether it is a health program focused on increasing antiretroviral adherence or an agricultural program designed to increase women’s access to market prices and valuable farming information. Mobile phones are successful components of interventions from Afghanistan to Uganda and literacy to health care, but as our ACFU piloting has demonstrated, further understanding and documentation of context is an important component of ensuring successful telephonic interventions.
For more information on m2m and what we are doing, please visit our website.