Mobile Moms - Liga Inan
One of HAI’s newest activities is a pilot project to use mobile phones to promote optimal maternal health behaviors and improve communication between pregnant women and their midwives. Known as Liga Inan, or Mobile Moms, this USAID-funded project provides mobile phone access to pregnant women living in remote rural areas of Timor-Leste as a means of strengthening communication between the women and their midwives. The phones will allow us to send SMS messages to promote a safe pregnancy and delivery and a healthy baby, and to allow the woman to call for an ambulance or a trained midwife when they go into labor. It is being implemented in the rural districts of Manufahi and Ainaro.
The project will develop and test an innovative three-pronged strategy to:
1) Enroll pregnant women in a mobile phone messaging service to provide twice weekly health messages and allow them to easily contact their midwife for information or assistance. The project’s web-based platform was developed by a local group, Catalpa International, and includes a dashboard for easy monitoring of program data.
2) Support family health promoters to increase demand for delivery by trained midwives and improved maternal behaviors through home visiting.
3) Support district midwives to provide basic emergency obstetric care in line with Ministry of Health policies and UNFPA activities.
If it is successful, the project can be expanded to other districts of the country, as well as provide useful information to support this mobile phone approach in other countries.
Photo courtesy of Catalpa International
The mobile phone project came about in response to the rapid increase in cell phone ownership in Timor-Leste. In Manufahi, the project district where the cell phone component is being implemented, nearly 70% of women with small children had access to a mobile phone in the household. The project will include operations research to determine the feasibility and effectiveness of using mobile phone technology for maternal health promotion in this setting, as well as ongoing monitoring and targeted evaluations