Long Read
19 August 2016

Simavi’s mobile health project awarded by Packard Foundation’s Quality Innovation Challenge

Simavi’s project proposal ‘Raising Voices for Better Choices: Tracking quality by youth, for youth’ is awarded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation’s Innovation Challenge.  Our idea was chosen as one of the five winners for a grant which will enable us to implement this innovative project in Malawi.

Our innovative project gives a voice to young people by using a mobile phone application to claim their rights to quality youth-friendly SRH services of health facilities. It also gives an overview to the local authorities how the health facilities in their district are performing.

Services under par

The SRH needs and rights of young people in Malawi often go unmet, despite the fact that they comprise about 66% of the population. Consequently, teenage pregnancies rates are high and the number of married and unmarried girls, aged 15-19, using a modern method of contraception is 26%. This is less than 20% for those who married before the age of 18. Youth-friendly services (YFS) on SRHR in Malawi are often hardly used because they do not match the needs identified  by young people themselves. Because the quality of youth-friendly services is poor, many youth, especially girls, do not receive the counseling, contraceptives or HIV/AIDS and STI services  that they need in these health facilities.

Mobile health to assess quality

Together with local partner YONECO (Youth Net and Counseling) , Simavi will implement this project in Mangochi district, Malawi. Using a mobile based tool as a platform to gather data, we will score youth-friendly services in five health facilities, so young people, health providers and district authorities can monitor the quality of youth-friendly service provision.  We will use the findings from client satisfaction surveys to create a map of the findings all health facilities so that youth and health service providers can visibly track the quality and availability of youth friendly services. By displaying the data on a map we give a clear picture of how facilities are performing, how young people perceive the quality and where improvements are needed. This generates compelling evidence to hold the government and local authorities accountable and advocate for the improvement of service delivery to young people.

Improvement to youth-friendly services

This project builds on the Malawi government’s health policies and strategies, using the priority for youth-friendly SRH services, youth participation and mobile technology to create support at the government level for our objectives. The youth-oriented activities will provide a comprehensive overview of the gaps and weaknesses in youth-friendly services, as identified by young people themselves. The mobile application actively engages young people and, at the same time, generates evidence for advocacy towards stakeholders. This evidence-based advocacy, brought forward through youth participation, can be used to hold government and health service providers accountable for their obligations.

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