A mobile phone app that records client information, recommends treatment approaches, and provides health counseling messages improves the quality of prenatal care provided by community health workers, according to a new Boston University School of Public Health study conducted in Nigeria.
The study, published online in the journal PLOS ONE and led by Ms. Marion McNabb, a doctoral student at BU who is also a technical advisor for Pathfinder International, found that the use of the app improved both technical care and client health counseling to pregnant women in Nigeria, many of whom receive either no prenatal care or limited care.
Dr. Christopher Gill, an associate professor of global health at BU, was a co-author on the study.
The app, developed using a platform known as CommCare, allowed health workers to register and retrieve records of clients while also prompting workers to provide services based on prior visits. It contained decision support algorithms covering the main areas of patient services, including screening for preeclampsia and management of obstetric danger signs.
The app also provided a series of audio-recorded health counseling messages that were played for clients during visits. Health counseling recordings included topics such as nutrition during pregnancy, use of iron/folic acid, maintaining hygienic practices, birth planning, prevention against malaria, information about immunizations, danger signs during pregnancy, postpartum contraception, HIV, and newborn care.
To read more about the study, go to: http://www.bu.edu/sph/2015/06/29/mobile-app-improves-prenatal-care-in-nigeria-study-finds/