Long Read

Mapping women’s health in Tanzania through mobile survey

Innovation is a vital component of Simavi’s work if we want to achieve a Healthy Life For All. Between May and September 2016, Simavi and local partner MDM partnered with TTC Mobile to investigate the quality of health facilities of the Same region in Tanzania for the Mobile Mapping for Women’s Health project.

Despite major improvements over the past decades, the maternal mortality ratio of Tanzania is 554 per 100,000 live births. Less than 42% of women living in rural areas in Tanzania give birth in a health facility. The government of Tanzania has therefore committed to improve basic health services and to lower maternal mortality rates by a third.

Simavi works with local partners and communities, using social accountability mechanisms, to hold governments to these commitments. Mobile tools can be helpful for mapping service quality and client satisfaction and give local governments tangible and credible information on which to base their decisions.

Mobile Mapping for Women’s Health

Mobile Mapping for Women’s Health supports communities to voice their needs to the local government, by gathering information about the experiences of women living in the Same district, in the Kilimanjaro region of North-East Tanzania. With technical support from TTC Mobile, Simavi and MDM developed an offline survey on smartphones. The offline survey contains questions regarding women’s experiences with their health facility and the barriers they face in accessing services.

Offline face-to-face data collection using mobile phones

To help us collect the data, TTC Mobile  trained enumerators to conduct face-to-face surveys and enter all responses in a smartphone. Seven enumerators from the district were trained to use this smartphone app and conducted surveys linked to their location, both with women who had visited the health facility and those who had not.

During the process of collecting data, we decided that, in order to get an accurate picture of women’s access to health services, it was important to also involve the men in their lives. Simavi and TTC Mobile worked together to develop an additional survey targeting men.

In total, 1,518 women were asked about the health services they received and their satisfaction level. Additionally, 108 men were surveyed about their understanding of the health needs of the women.

Survey insights

The results of the survey provided valuable insights into the health of women and their experience with health facilities accessible to them. For instance, the surveys showed that none of the health facilities systematically performs the “six critical checks” on pregnant women (measuring blood pressure, pulse, temperature, respiration, anaemia and breasts). During antenatal care visits, women’s breasts were checked in only 27% of cases and their temperature was checked in only 38% of the cases. The survey among men led to helpful insights into the male involvement concerning women’s health. Up to 97% of the men who attended antenatal care visits knew the importance of HIV testing, while this was only 62% for the men who did not attend the visit.

Simavi and MDM will use the evidence gathered via this innovative mobile software, to ensure local governments improve services for women’s sexual and reproductive health, and that communities can make sure quality services are actually being delivered.

 

 

 

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