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Table of Contents   
LETTER TO THE EDITOR  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 266-267
Adopting mobile technology to improve maternal care in rural and low-resource settings


Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

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Date of Web Publication5-May-2017
 

How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Adopting mobile technology to improve maternal care in rural and low-resource settings. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:266-7

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Adopting mobile technology to improve maternal care in rural and low-resource settings. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2019 Sep 21];10:266-7. Available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2017/10/1/266/205559
Dear Editor,

Ensuring improvement in the maternal health care services has been acknowledged as a global health priority, as evidenced by the persistent attention given towards bettering the maternal health care indicators by the international stakeholders.[1] Nevertheless, even today in excess of 800 women are losing their lives to avoidable causes associated with pregnancy and childbirth, with nearly all deaths being reported in low-resource settings.[1] Further, young adolescents are exposed to an enormous high risk of poor pregnancy outcome in comparison with the other women.[1],[2]

Women living in remote settings are least likely to avail desired health care services and it is due to both health system (shortage of health staff, inadequate services, etc.) and personal (viz. poverty, distance, low awareness, sociocultural practices, etc.) attributes.[1],[2] In-fact, the recent estimates suggest that almost half of the pregnant women from low-income nations are devoid of skilled care at the time of childbirth.[1] Similar sorts of alarming concerns have been identified even with regard to utilization of family welfare or antenatal care services.[1],[2],[3],[4]

Acknowledging the importance of the maternal health care, prevalent barriers in rural regions and a definite scope to utilize mobile technology owing to the widespread availability of mobile phones, different mobile applications have been developed to improve the utilization of maternal health care services.[2],[3],[4],[5] In-fact, a mobile application has been developed and employed in the field settings in Uganda to revolutionize the maternal care of young mothers throughout the nation.[5] This application is expected to avert the risk of maternal deaths, miscarriage, and other complications associated with pregnancy, which are extremely common in young women.[2],[3],[4]

It is also expected to ensure that the expected number of antenatal visits can be ensured (through automatic text reminders and appropriate advice based on the antenatal age), and even gives an opportunity to have a dialogue with decision-makers of the family to convince them for accessing antenatal services.[2],[3],[4],[5] Furthermore, the app is expected to assist even the health care professionals in reducing their paperwork, make the maternal care services user-friendly, and enable them to keep a track of different milestones during pregnancy and childbirth.[3],[5] The plan is to expand the utility of the app and add additional elements of reproductive health issues.[1],[5]

Similarly, mobile applications have been developed in different settings to improve the contraception uptake and other issues related to maternal care. The rationale behind these apps is that it is expected to improve better utilization through activating women and their family members.[2],[3],[4],[5] Although, it should not be considered an excuse, these apps will even neutralize the time constraints, which the health professionals have to face due to their serious workload (because of which physician ability to counsel is hampered) in low-resource settings.[5] Thus, they can be used as a source of reinforcement and counseling education can be delivered in a repetitive manner, and will even improve their compliance or neutralize the barriers.[2],[3],[4],[5]

To conclude, amidst the ever-growing utility of mobile phones even among rural young women, and in the general population, the mobile application offers an extremely feasible and effective approach to improve the maternal health care indicators.

Acknowledgement

S.R.S. contributed in the conception or design of the work, drafting of the work, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work

P.S.S. contributed in the literature review, revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work

J.R. contributed in revising the draft, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
   References Top

1.
World Health Organization. Maternal mortality - Fact sheet N°348;2015. Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs348/en/. [Last accessed on 2016 Apr 24].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Ledford CJ, Canzona MR, Cafferty LA, Hodge JA. Mobile application as a prenatal education and engagement tool: A randomized controlled pilot. Patient Educ Couns 2016;99:578-82.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Sridhar A, Chen A, Forbes ER, Glik D. Mobile application for information on reversible contraception: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2015;212:e1-7.  Back to cited text no. 3
[PUBMED]    
4.
Waring ME, Moore Simas TA, Xiao RS, Lombardini LM, Allison JJ, Rosal MC. Pregnant women's interest in a website or mobile application for healthy gestational weight gain. Sex Reprod Healthc 2014;5:182-4.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
UNFPA. A new mobile app brings the digital revolution to adolescent maternal care in Uganda; 2016. Available from: http://www.unfpa.org/news/new-mobile-app-brings-digital-revolution-adolescent-maternal-care-uganda. [Last accessed on 2016 Apr 24]  Back to cited text no. 5
    

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Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh R Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai village, Thiruporur: Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram: Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.205559

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