Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Ike Okosun

Second Advisor

Sheryl Strasser

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Public health is defined as the science of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through systematic efforts and educated choices by communities, organizations and individuals around the globe. World Vision is no stranger to this. The World Vision Organization currently has a Mobile Health division. Mobile Technologies for Health (mHealth) is the term used for practicing medicine and public health, supported by mobile phones and other communication devices, such as tablets and personal digital assistants. This new field has emerged as a viable source to communicate health needs and collect community health data. It has been proven to help deliver healthcare information to community health workers (CHW), researchers, physicians and patients, in real-time.

AIM: The goal was to compare two groups of prenatal mothers and see if mobile phone technologies provided a viable resource to better serve the health care needs of those in the rural area of Mozambique.

METHODS: The mobile phones were used for health promotion plus data collection, CHW training and emergency referral. The mobile phones were implemented into the intervention group and were compared to control group: CHWs without the mHealth intervention. A survey was administered at the end of the study to women in both groups and the data was analyzed to compare the experimental group with the control group to see if the intervention led to more awareness and knowledge of pregnancy and postpartum danger signs in women. Odds ratios, confidence intervals and p-values for each indicator were calculated and compared between groups.

RESULTS: The results above show, mothers who know at least 2 danger signs in pregnancy is significantly higher in the control area (68%, OR=0.4, p-value=0.009) than in the intervention group (51.6%). The proportion of mothers who know danger signs in the postpartum period is fairly low in both groups, but the intervention group (11.8%, OR=0.4, p-value=0.05) is significantly higher than the control group (5.3%).

DISCUSSION: Based on the findings, the interventions group was also more likely to know about pregnancy and postpartum danger signs than the control group. Because the difference in the two groups was the mHealth intervention modules, it can be proven that the cause of the improvements between the groups was the mobile phones; though a self-selection bias could have accounted for the difference between the groups.

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