HealthEnabled is working closely with mothers2mothers, a non-profit organisation supporting HIV+ pregnant women and mothers in Sub-Saharan Africa, including South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Malawi, and Uganda. With assistance from members of the expert network (Shaun Conway and Sam Surka) we are providing ongoing technical assistance the m2m mHealth Task Team to enable them to develop and implement an appropriate and sustainable mHealth strategy.

Background


mothers2mothers works in 9 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, reaching pregnant HIV positive women and helping ensure that their babies are born and remain HIV-negative, and that mothers and babies keep healthy.

Although treatment for preventing the mother to child transmission of HIV is fairly simple and readily available, health systems in Sub-Saharan Africa are under enormous strain and women don't always receive the diagnosis, drugs or instructions for protecting their babies from infection.

mothers2mothers employs mothers living with HIV to work alongside doctors and nurses in understaffed health centres. These Mentor Mothers provide essential health education and psychosocial support to other HIV-positive women.

The Mentor Mothers intervention has been shown to increase the likelihood of ARV drugs being administered to pregnant women and preventative treatment provided to infants, along with early infant diagnosis tests. The employment provided to the Mentor Mothers themselves has further knock-on effects for the women and their families.  

The m2m programme operates in resource-limited locations, where access to computers and internet are scarce. One of the key challenges faced by the organisation is feeding data back to the central office from the field. Such data is necessary if the organisation is to improve its service delivery and respond to changes in the field.

The organisation is keen to take advantage of digital health tools to strengthen their internal M&E processes and programme development, and also their in-field service delivery.

The Team

  • mothers2mothers mHealth Task Team
  • Sam Surka and Shaun Conway from 9Needs
  • Peter Benjamin from HealthEnabled

The Initiative

Through the generous support of Johnson & Johnson, HealthEnabled and the appointed consulting experts have worked closely with the mothers2mothers mHealth Task Team to:

  • Assess the mHealth capacity of the organisation and identify resources and capacity gaps.
  • Review the existing mHealth initiatives in m2m and identify requirements for further implementation.
  • Develop an mHealth strategy to support the organization’s mission.
  • Assist with building capacity within m2m to develop and implement a plan to deliver the mHealth strategy.

The consultants adopted an "Agile" approach to providing the required assistance, which allowed the Task Team to adjust to changing needs and timeframes and tackle specific tasks in 2 week sprints.

Recommendations regarding existing systems are being implemented in the organisation, and a broader mHealth strategy has been proposed to management.

A specific need for an mHealth Appointment Scheduling System was identified to enabled the Mentor Mothers to track patient appointments more effectively. This system will build on top of a registry system and open data architecture which will ensure that data can be fed through to other parts of the organisation as needed. The scheduling system will be piloted and assessed in the second half of 2015. 

Conclusion

After the successful conclusion of the first phase of assistance, HealthEnabled is continuing to provide technical assistance to mothers2mothers as they pilot and roll out their new mHealth applications.