The Transformative Effects of Mobile Phone Messaging on Women’s Roles in Decision-Making for Maternal and Child Health

Allison Stone, Columbia University
John Koku Awoonor-Williams, Ghana Health Service

The Mobile Technology for Community Health (MoTeCH) Initiative was launched in July, 2010 with the aim of sending individualized care reminders and health information to pregnant women and mothers of young children. Located in the Upper East Region of Ghana, the country’s poorest and remote region, MoTeCH captures nurse’s health service data via inexpensive mobile phones. Using this information, MoTeCH feeds back alerts and reminders to health workers and mothers supporting individual care needs throughout pregnancy and early infancy. Qualitative appraisal is used to evaluate the impact of MoTeCH on clients’ utilization of key maternal and child health services. Preliminary results reveal that MoTeCH messaging has had unexpected transformative effects on traditional roles for health decision-making within households, empowering young women to insist on accessing necessary health services. Extra-familial information transmitted via mobile phones has credibility and status itself, which enhances the role of women in health decision-making.

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Presented in Poster Session 3