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Round 3 (2013)

Mobilizing Innovation for Global Health

Round 3 (2013)

The following Round 3 (2013) catalytic grants competition winners were announced on September 24, 2013.

FHI 360 (Kenya, Tanzania)

Three pathways to scaling Mobile for Reproductive Health (m4RH) – m4RH is an automated, interactive and on-demand short message service (SMS) system that provides essential facts and addresses common misconceptions about the full range of short-acting and long-acting contraceptive methods. In addition to information, m4RH allows users to access a searchable database to locate nearby family planning clinics, helping users move from contemplation to action. FHI 360 plans to explore three avenues that could contribute to the financial sustainability of m4RH in Kenya and Tanzania, thereby increasing reach and access to family planning information: 1) creating partnerships with private companies/organizations 2) charging user fees and 3) marketing the service at different price levels.

Lead Contact: Kelly L’Engle, FHI360

Institute for Reproductive Health, Georgetown University (India)

CycleTel: Scaling up the first family planning method via mobile phones – CycleTel is based on the scientifically-tested Standard Days Method® (SDM) of family planning, a fertility awareness method proven to address unmet needs globally. CycleTel automates this process, alerting women of their unsafe (fertile) days each month via SMS and indicating when unprotected sex should be avoided to prevent pregnancy. CycleTel will work with public and private sector partners to bring this evidence based innovation for family planning to scale in India.

Lead Contact: Alexis Ettinger, IRH Georgetown

John Snow, Inc. (Malawi)

Scaling up cStock in Malawi: Using data to improve access to medicines in the community – cStock is an SMS and web-based, open-source logistics management information system for reporting, calculating resupply, managing, and monitoring all community-level health products. Recognizing that improved data visibility alone would not yield desired results, cStock was designed to be complemented by a team-led and goal-focused approach towards using the data for problem solving and timely, informed decision making. District Product Availability Teams (DPATs) were formed with a shared vision and commitment to enhancing proactive leadership in monitoring and managing product availability at the district, cluster and health center levels. cStock has been implemented as part of the Enhanced Management (EM) approach in Malawi. The Ministry of Health has endorsed this approach and has committed, with partners, to rolling out the full EM package in 20 of 29 districts by the end of 2013. The grant will be used to introduce the EM package to two districts and for developing a GPRS mobile application to support long-term reductions in costs and expansion of the system. Additionally, JSI will use IWG funds to support a position within the Ministry of Health that will provide training and capacity building support to Ministry of Health officials so that they will be able to run the cStock software without JSI and partners in the future.

Lead Contact: Sarah Andersson, JSI

Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) (Kenya)

Texting to Improve Testing (TextIT) Strategy: Text messaging to increase postpartum clinic attendance and rates of early infant diagnosis of HIV – Because mobile phones and SMS have been found to be successful modes of delivering HIV-related information, improving antiretroviral therapy adherence, and increasing clinic attendance rates for other HIV prevention programs, KEMRI designed an interactive two-way text messaging intervention and has evaluated its efficacy in a randomized controlled trial in Nyanza province, Kenya. With the IWG grant, this program will be expanded from 5 to 20 health facilities. KEMRI will determine the costs, cost savings and cost-effectiveness of this regional scale-up in order to inform future countrywide expansion. It will partner with the Government of Kenya/National AIDS and STI Control Program to plan and implement countrywide scale-up beyond the life of this grant. KEMRI's position as a government funded research institute makes it well positioned to influence national policy and scale up nationally once the right evidence (in terms of health outcomes and cost effectiveness) is generated.

Lead Contact: Thomas Odeny, KEMRI

Ministry of Health, Zanzibar, University of Copenhagen (Zanzibar)

Wired Mothers – This program consists of two components: 1) an automated SMS system providing wired mothers with unidirectional text messaging and 2) a mobile phone voucher system providing access to emergency obstetric care through improved communication and referral links from primary health care facilities to hospitals. The aim of the SMS component is to provide simple health education and appointment reminders to encourage attendance at routine antenatal care, skilled delivery attendance and postnatal care. Specific areas for scale-up include the training of additional health providers.

Lead Contact: Stine Lund, University of Copenhagen

PATH (Vietnam)

Expanding reach of immunization registry in Vietnam – The current paper-based system used to track immunizations is time consuming, prone to errors, and limits the timely delivery of vaccines to children and pregnant women. Under Project Optimize, PATH and the National Expanded Programme on Immunization (NEPI) have created a digital immunization registry system that registers children at birth, tracks vaccines provided to them, and sends SMS reminders to parents before each immunization day. The system allows for real-time access to immunization data and easy generation of reports at the commune and district levels, improving monitoring of program implementation. The funds provided by the IWG grant will be instrumental in designing, testing, and evaluating the immunization registry system in Ben Tre province, where the service will benefit a population of 1.3 million. The evaluation will propose solutions to make the scale-up financially feasible and sustainable for the government.

Lead Contact: Nguyen Nga, PATH Vietnam

Pathfinder International (Nigeria)

m4Change – This project aims to improve the quality of maternal and child health services through a public private partnership to scale up mHealth and mobile money for health projects in northern Nigeria. Pathfinder will support Nigeria's Saving One Million Lives initiative by scaling up the use of CommCare, a mobile phone decision support application, to improve the quality of maternal and child health services offered at primary health centers. Pathfinder will also provide technical assistance to the SURE-P project to integrate mobile money as an option for pregnant women to receive CCT payments, in order to increase the efficiency and security of transactions. Building upon the current m4Change pilot project, Pathfinder will implement CommCare in a total of 50 primary health centers in Abuja and Nasarawa, and will train 350 healthcare workers to use the mobile phone application.

Lead Contact: Marion McNabb, Pathfinder International

Sesame Workshop (India)

Building communities of change: A mobile-based initiative of Galli Galli Sim Sim – Radiophone is an innovative program that uses the power of a community radio platform and combines it with mobile phones to reach marginalized communities with information to help children grow up healthy and happy. The program delivers key health and hygiene messages to children and parents and provides community members with a platform to discuss and influence the most critical issues in their towns and cities. Given the success to date of the Radiophone Project, Sesame Workshop India, through the IWG catalytic grant, proposes to expand this innovative program to improve awareness and attitudes on water sanitation and personal hygiene among 1.5 million people (reaching 200,000 children) in 10 diverse communities across north and central India.

Lead Contact: Anuragini Nagar

UNICEF-Uganda, New York University (Uganda)

Empowering m-citizens to strengthen maternal, newborn and child health with mTrac and U-report – This project proposes aggregating data collected from the U-report system, which equips mobile phone users with the tools to establish and enforce new standards of transparency and accountability in development programming and services, and creating regular dissemination mechanisms in order to share this data back directly with health providers. Innovatively, and due to the existence of mTrac, a data management system, UNICEF-Uganda plans to deliver this data back to health facilities and professionals using mobile phones and to use this system to measure improvements in health service delivery. UNICEF will scale up the project by developing and implementing a marketing campaign in low-coverage areas to sign up more women of reproductive age to U-report, with a goal of mobilizing the existing 200,000 U-reporters and recruiting 50,000 additional U-reporters in 6 months.

Lead Contact: Karen Grepin, NYU
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WAHA International (Senegal)

Improving access to maternal healthcare through mHealth – The program uses communication campaigns, sent via SMS, to educate the community about the availability and benefits of maternal and child health services and to address transportation barriers. These messages are reinforced by a team of community health workers known as Badien Gokh ("community godmothers") trained by the Senegalese Ministry of Health to carry out home visits and encourage the uptake of key maternal and child health services. The project also addresses ineffective communication links between health workers by providing the Badien Gokh, ambulance drivers and key health facility staff with mobile phones so that ambulances can be called out to collect high-priority patients (e.g., women in labor or those experiencing obstetric complications) for urgent transfer to the nearest health facility. The communication network also allows health facility staff to provide follow-up messages to the Badien Gokh via SMS during ante- or postnatal care, or after an obstetric emergency. They can then ensure that patients receive the supplementary care and attention they need once they have returned to their homes. Plans are underway to reach a population of nearly 700,000 in the Tambacounda region of Senegal, compared to the pilot testing of approximately 134,000.

Lead Contact: Cheikh Mbaye