MAMA App is a mobile and web-based information system designed to improve the uptake of Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) services offered by Mariestopes Uganda through increasing access to reproductive health vouchers by young women of child bearing age, and improving follow-up and reporting.
MAMA App Project is based on Uganda Reproductive Health Voucher Project (URHVP), a ministry of Health program that is to be implemented in partnership with MSU with support from World Bank. With an overarching goal to reduce maternal and prenatal mortality and morbidity through increased access to skilled care during pregnancy, delivery and postnatal period, the initial pilot project implemented by MSU in western Uganda that was launched in 2013 saw approximately 931,000 people reached with family planning, and maternal and child health services.
Successes of the URHVP especially those registered in its pilot project notwithstanding, a number of challenges in terms of information needs, reporting, and follow-up, among others were registered by Marie Stopes.
Kobusingye Mary, a mother of three was all smiles after she successfully convinced her husband and took him for family planning services at Ruharo Mission Hospital in Mbarara. Mary’s happy mood turned into anger and frustration after she was turned back because she didn’t have a MSU Voucher that would see her access services at a subsidized cost. Filling disappointed, Mary went back home and unfortunately got pregnant the next night before she could access family planning services.
Mary’s story represents the story of several other women that are finding it difficult to access vouchers after spending a lot of money on transport and time to locate the CBDs. For those with personal problems with CBDs, MSU Vouchers remain beyond their reach as they have to bear the full cost of services being subsidized by the URHVP project.
Mariestopes itself is injecting in a lot of money in printing and distributing vouchers but getting back less from sale of these vouchers due to low uptake. Generating timely reports on voucher usage is dependent on return of claims from partner health facilities, whose delay translates in late reporting. Follow-up on specific clients who drop out on critical services like ANC is very difficult.
The MAMA App project will enable clients purchase Vouchers using their mobile phones at a reduced cost of Shs.2, 500 (including sending charges) from the current Shs.4, 000. Using any type of phone (feature phone or Smartphone), anyone will be able to load money inform of airtime on his/her phone, type “Voucher” leave space and type number of vouchers needed and send it to the given number let’s say 1840. Immediately, a voucher number will be generated and automatically sent to the subscriber to present to the health facility.
At the Health Facility, a health worker shall enter the voucher number into a mobile application. The system will verify the voucher number and allow the application to proceed to the next level where more details about the service and client shall be entered. For proper project implementation, each facility shall be availed with a Smartphone.
Information provided by clients at the time of registering a service shall be used to provide customized reminders and follow-up. For example, using the date on which service is provided, the system will compute and generate the next review date depending on type of service being offered. Customized SMS reminder will be sent to client and copied to VHT about next review date. In case a client doesn’t turn-up on that planned date, a red flag on that client will be generated ensuring serious follow-up by the health facility staff and VHT. For case of expectant mothers, follow-up will continue even after delivery to include immunization days. In addition, expectant mothers will also receive customized health tips based on age of pregnancy.
This project is designed to ensure that men are fully involved in project implementation. Women who present for family planning and ANC will earn point that will be redeemed to get free vouchers. Upon successful implementation, this initiative will be revised have people earn airtime instead of only vouchers.
The project will result into real-time reporting about number of vouchers bought on a daily basis, services received and from which location and other details in line with stated project indicators/expected outcomes. Generated reports will be supplemented with graphical visualizations like graphs and charts.
- There will be reduced overhead costs for printing vouchers
- The project will lead to reduced inconvenience hence increased access to vouchers
- It will result into improved follow-up of clients
By: Mugabi Collins (BIS), Emurwon Albert (BIS), Karugaba Amos (BCS), Olupot Nathan (BIS)
UGANDA TECHNOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT UNIVERSITY (UTAMU)