15 Sep 2019
Thompson S (2019) The Liga Inan Program: Putting health in the hands of mothers. Health Alliance International, USAID, Ministerio de Saude, Australian Aid, Catalpa International
Since independence in 1999, Health Alliance International (HAI) has worked with the Ministry of Health (MoH) to strengthen the capacity of the Timorese health system to provide health services to a population with challenging terrain, poor infrastructure and limited human resources. HAI also works in communities to increase awareness of care seeking behavior that will improve maternal health and birth outcomes. The overarching theme has been one of connection—connecting community to important health information, connecting health staff to clinical training, and most recently connecting midwives to pregnant women through mobile phone technology. In 2013, HAI and Catalpa International, a not-for-profit software development and services firm, designed and launched the first ever mobile health (mHealth) program in Timor-Leste. Mobile Moms, or Liga Inan in the local language, is an innovative approach to connecting pregnant women to health information and to the midwives who serve them by means of mobile phones, both through text messaging and facilitated voice communication. Rapidly growing ownership of mobile phones, even by relatively impoverished families, makes mobile technology a viable option for delivering health messages and improving use of services, such as having their delivery attended by a midwife or doctor.