A mobile phone-based multimedia intervention to support maternal health is acceptable and feasible among illiterate pregnant women in Uganda: Qualitative findings from a pilot randomized controlled trialArticle
Background:Uganda’s maternal mortality rate remains unacceptably high. Mobile phones can potentially provide affordable means of accessing maternal health services even among the otherwise hard-to-reach populations. Evidence about the acceptability and feasibility of mobile phone-based interventions targeting illiterate women, however, is limited.
Objective: To assess the acceptability and feasibility of a mobile phone-based multimedia application (MatHealth app) to support maternal health amongst illiterate pregnant women in rural southwestern Uganda.
Methods: 80 pregnant women initiating antenatal care from Mbarara regional referral hospital were enrolled in a pilot randomized controlled trial and followed until six weeks after delivery. The 40 women in the intervention group received a MatHealth app composed of educational videos/audios, clinic appointment reminders, and the calling function. Qualitative interviews on acceptability of this technology were carried out with 30 of the intervention participants. An inductive, content analytic approach was used to analyze qualitative data. Quantitative feasibility data were recorded and summarized descriptively.
Results: Participants reported that the intervention is acceptable as it enabled them adopt good maternal health practices, enhanced social support from spouses, provided clinic appointment reminders, and facilitated communication with healthcare providers. Challenges included: phone sharing (74%), accidental deletion of the application 15 (43%), lack of electricity 15 (43%), and inability to set up a reminder function 20(57%).
Conclusion: The MatHealth app is an acceptable and feasible intervention among illiterate women, in a resource limited setting. Future efforts should focus on optimized application design, spouse orientation, and incorporating economic support to overcome the challenges we encountered.
1Department of Information Technology, Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Uganda
2Angels Compassion Organisation, Mbarara Uganda
3Computer Science Department, Humbolt-Universit’a’t zu Berlin,Berlin