How did pregnant women and healthcare workers experience the MyHealth@Hand smartphone application? We returned to Sanitas Hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to evaluate our pilot and answer this question.
Two months ago we arrived in Tanzania to pilot the MyHealth@Hand application after having conducted pilots in Ghana, Rwanda and Uganda in 2018 and 2019. The app enables women to properly and safely monitor their pregnancy while being empowered with relevant information and health data. In October we trained the medical staff of Sanitas Hospital in Dar es Salam, Tanzania, in the use of the app and onboard their clients. This month we returned to learn from the experiences of healthcare workers and pregnant women.
Efficiency for midwives and nurses
To determine how midwives can benefit from the app, it is important to understand their daily work routine. As one of the midwives in the clinic explained: ‘clients come for ANC visits every month. The first person they meet in the clinic are the midwives or nurses. We check all their vital signs, if there is a danger sign, we make sure the client can quickly go to the gynecologist. Otherwise, they wait in line to see the gynecologist, this is the moment where we onboard women to the app.’
Since Sanitas Hospital is a private hospital, pregnant women have an option to prepay for their antenatal package including all their ANC visits. If a women does not show up for the next ANC visit, the midwives and nurses have to browse through a register book to find the phone number to contact the client. The staff mentions that this can be a time consuming task which can be easily overcome with the MH@H app which sends automated ANC reminders to the user and also facilitates the direct communication between the healthcare worker and the client.
Pregnant women are taking control
Midwives and nurses shared it can be a challenge to answer the clients’ questions in the limited time they have during a consult. The MH@H app enables pregnant women to read relevant information, tailored to their gestation age. During ANC visits, midwives and nurses notice that women only ask for confirmation about what they read, saving them valuable time. But moreover, women that use the app are taking control: ‘they become more interested in their own health instead of taking blindly what the doctor says.’
Because of the information in the app, I am more confident and less worried about my pregnancy.
Confidence and reassurance
The pregnant women pointed out that they like the health information in the application. Some open the app twice a day to read information. The pregnant women like that they can stay informed about their pregnancy in their home environment. One pregnant woman explained how the app supported her: ‘I used to go to the doctor frequently outside my normal ANC visits, but since I receive the health information on the app, I only go to my regular ANC visits or call my doctor when I have a specific question. There was a moment when I felt discomfort in my belly, but I read in the app that the baby would be turning at this point in time, which reassured and comforted me and stopped me from going to the doctor. Because of the information in the app, I am more confident and less worried about my pregnancy.’
Overall, the midwives, nurses, doctors and clients at Sanitas Hospital are very enthusiastic about the app. ‘The clients like the fact that we are interested in their care and they feel honored that we help them to get a personal app. They appreciate that we go a step further to introduce this app to them.’
In 2020 Health[e]Foundation will continue to improve and expand the app to support the health of moms and babies in Surinam, Ethiopia and Tanzania and in many more countries to come.