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Mobile App improves access to quality health services for young pregnant women in Uganda

Following the successful pilot and launch in Kanungu District in November 2017, the GetIN mobile App has extended the use of its mobile application to the neighboring Bundibugyo District in South Western Uganda. GetIN is an online platform to strengthen linkages between health care providers and young pregnant women to access timely and quality maternal health care.

Supported by UNFPA and developed and implemented by young people, GetIN is part of UNFPA’s 15 years of continuous efforts to improve youth-friendly and maternal health service delivery in the district.

The mobile App enables health care providers to reach out to the “hard-to-reach” young pregnant women. The App maps their physical location, and sends key maternal health messages throughout the post-partum period, thereby improving their knowledge on how to ensure safe motherhood and post-partum family planning.

GetIN also collects accurate information of the young pregnant women (below 25 years old) and reports the data to a central dashboard, which is monitored by the District Health Officer and District Bio-statistician. The dashboard provides information of the work done by the health care providers and creates an opportunity for the district health team to respond to any noted challenges in real time.

A group of VHTs from Bundibugyo, going a through a group exercise
while training on GetIN mobile App usage.
PHOTO: UNFPA/Hope Kirabo.

According to the area specific profile for the National Population Census 2014 of Bundibugyo District, 58 percent of the district population is below 24 years, with teenage pregnancy rate as high as 25 percent, equaling the national average.

In his remarks at the launch, the District Health Officer, Dr. Christopher Kiyita, appreciated how technology today can be used to enhance access to health services in the hard- to- reach hilly district.

“Here, it is hard for our young mothers to access health facilities due to geographical distance and stigmatization of pregnant girls in our communities. So it is important to follow them up and encourage them to seek services at the health facility,” Mr. Kiyita added.

In Bundibugyo, GetIN will be rolled out in 17 health facilities, where 51 volunteers; (34 Village Health Team members, 17 midwives) and 2 district officials were trained and equipped with a smartphone for mapping and following-up young pregnant mothers especially teenage girls to access maternal health services. UNFPA also provided the district with two computers to monitor progress on a regular basis.

UNFPA believes that through innovative solutions, Uganda will register significant improvements in sexual and reproductive health indicators for women and girls.

Story by Cedric Muhebwa