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TitleExplaining the impact of mHealth on maternal and child health care in low- and middle-income countries: a realist synthesis.
AuthorsKabongo, EM; Mukumbang, FC; Delobelle, P; Nicol, E
JournalBMC pregnancy and childbirth
Publication Date9 Mar 2021
Date Added to PubMed23 Mar 2021
AbstractDespite the growing global application of mobile health (mHealth) technology in maternal and child health, contextual factors, and mechanisms by which interventional outcomes are generated, have not been subjected to a systematic examination. In this study, we sought to uncover context, mechanisms, and outcome elements of various mHealth interventions based on implementation and evaluation studies to formulate theories or models explicating how mHealth interventions work (or not) both for health care providers and for pregnant women and mothers. We undertook a realist synthesis. An electronic search of five online databases (PubMed/Medline, Google Scholar, Scopus, Academic Search Premier and Health Systems Evidence) was performed. Using appropriate Boolean phrases terms and selection procedures, 32 articles were identified. A theory-driven approach, narrative synthesis, was applied to synthesize the data. Thematic content analysis was used to delineate elements of the intervention, including its context, actors, mechanisms, and outcomes. Abduction and retroduction were applied using a realist evaluation heuristic tool to formulate generative theories. We formulated two configurational models illustrating how and why mHealth impacts implementation and uptake of maternal and child health care. Implementation-related mechanisms include buy-in from health care providers, perceived support of health care providers' motivation and perceived ease of use and usefulness. These mechanisms are influenced by adaptive health system conditions including organization, resource availability, policy implementation dynamics, experience with technology, network infrastructure and connectivity. For pregnant women and mothers, mechanisms that trigger mHealth use and consequently uptake of maternal and child health care include perceived satisfaction, motivation and positive psychological support. Information overload was identified as a potential negative mechanism impacting the uptake of maternal and child health care. These mechanisms are influenced by health system conditions, socio-cultural characteristics, socio-economic and demographics characteristics, network infrastructure and connectivity and awareness. Models developed in this study provide a detailed understanding of implementation and uptake of mHealth interventions and how and why they impact maternal and child health care in low- and middle-income countries. These models provide a foundation for the 'white box' of theory-driven evaluation of mHealth interventions and can improve rollout and implementation where required.
TitleSave the children by treating their mothers (PriVileG-M-study) - study protocol: a sequentially randomized controlled trial of individualized psychotherapy and telemedicine to reduce mental stress in pregnant women and young mothers and to improve Child's health.
AuthorsBischoff, M; Howland, V; Klinger-König, J; Tomczyk, S; Schmidt, S; Zygmunt, M; Heckmann, M; van den Berg, N; Bethke, B; Corleis, J; Günther, S; Liutkus, K; Stentzel, U; Neumann, A; Penndorf, P; Ludwig, T; Hammer, E; Winter, T; Grabe, HJ
JournalBMC psychiatry
Publication Date27 Nov 2019
Date Added to PubMed30 Nov 2019
AbstractAs early as pregnancy, maternal mental stress impinges on the child's development and health. Thus, this may cause enhanced risk for premature birth, lowered fetal growth, and lower fetal birth weight as well as enhanced levels of the stress hormone cortisol and lowered levels of the bonding hormone oxytocin. Maternal stress further reduces maternal sensitivity for the child's needs which impairs the mother-child-interaction and bonding. Therefore, prevention and intervention studies on mental stress are necessary, beginning prenatally and applying rigorous research methodology, such as randomized controlled trials, to ensure high validity. A randomized controlled trial is used to assess the impact of psychotherapy and telemedicine on maternal mental stress and the child's mental and physical health. Mentally stressed pregnant women are randomized to an intervention (IG) and a not intervened control group. The IG receives an individualized psychotherapy starting prenatal and lasting for 10 months. Afterwards, a second randomization is used to investigate whether the use of telemedicine can stabilize the therapeutic effects. Using ecological momentary assessments and video recordings, the transfer into daily life, maternal sensitivity and mother-child-bonding are assessed. Psycho-biologically, the synchronicity of cortisol and oxytocin levels between mother and child are assessed as well as the peptidome of the colostrum and breast milk, which are assumed to be essential for the adaptation to the extra-uterine environment. All assessments are compared to an additional control group of healthy women. Finally, the results of the study will lead to the development of a qualification measure for health professionals to detect mental stress, to treat it with low-level interventions and to refer those women with high stress levels to mental health professionals. The study aims to prevent the transgenerational transfer of psychiatric and somatic disorders from the mother to her child. The effects of the psychotherapy will be stabilized through telemedicine and long-term impacts on the child's and mothers' mental health are enhanced. The combination of psychotherapy, telemedicine and methodologies of ecological momentary assessment, video recording and bio banking are new in content-related and methodological manner. German Clinical Trials Register: DRKS00017065. Registered 02 May 2019. World Health Organization, Universal Trial Number: U1111-1230-9826. Registered 01 April 2019.
TitleEvaluating the effect of maternal mHealth text messages on uptake of maternal and child health care services in South Africa: a multicentre cohort intervention study.
AuthorsColeman, J; Black, V; Thorson, AE; Eriksen, J
JournalReproductive health
Publication Date20 Oct 2020
Date Added to PubMed22 Oct 2020
AbstractThere are high expectations that mobile health (mHealth) strategies will increase uptake of health care services, especially in resource strained settings. Our study aimed to evaluate effects of an mHealth intervention on uptake of maternal health services. This was an intervention cohort study conducted at six public antenatal and postnatal care clinics in inner-city Johannesburg, South Africa. The intervention consisted of twice-weekly informative and pregnancy stage-based maternal health information text messages sent to women during pregnancy until their child was one year of age. The intervention arm of 87 mother-infant pairs was compared to a control arm of 90 pairs. Univariate and multivariate analyses were used to compare the probability of the outcome between the two groups. Intervention participants had higher odds of attending all government-recommended antenatal and postnatal visits, all recommended first year vaccinations (OR: 3.2, 95% CI 1.63-6.31) and had higher odds of attending at least the recommended four antenatal visits (OR: 3.21, 95% CI 1.73-5.98). We show an improvement in achieving complete maternal-infant continuum of care, providing evidence of a positive impact of informative maternal mHealth messages sent to pregnant women and new mothers. Trial registration ISRCTN, ISRCTN41772986. Registered 13 February 2019-Retrospectively registered,
TitleExamining the effects of an eHealth intervention from infant age 6 to 12 months on child eating behaviors and maternal feeding practices one year after cessation: The Norwegian randomized controlled trial Early Food for Future Health.
AuthorsHelle, C; Hillesund, ER; Wills, AK; Øverby, NC
JournalPloS one
Publication Date1 Dec 2019
Date Added to PubMed24 Aug 2019
AbstractThe Norwegian randomized controlled trial Early Food for Future Health provided parental anticipatory guidance on early protective feeding practices from child age 6 to 12 months through an eHealth intervention. Previously published outcomes at child age 12 months indicated that the eHealth intervention increased daily vegetable/fruit intake and promoted more beneficial mealtime routines. The objective of the current paper is to evaluate the effects of the intervention at child age 24 months, one year after cessation. Parents of infants aged 3-5 months were recruited via social media and child health clinics during spring 2016. At child age 5.5 months, 715 mothers were randomized to either control (n = 358) or intervention (n = 360) arm. Primary study-outcomes were child eating behaviors, dietary intake, mealtime routines and maternal feeding practices and feeding styles. Secondary outcome was child anthropometry. In total 295 mothers (41%) completed the follow-up questionnaire at child age 24 months. Regarding fruit intake, 54.3% in the intervention group had a high score compared with 48.3% of the control group (p = 0.29). For intake of vegetables, 54.5% in the intervention group had a high score compared with 50.7% in the control group (p = 0.49). A total of 65.7% of the children in the intervention group were eating breakfast together with family ≥ 4 times per week, compared with 57.3% of the children in the control group (p = 0.12). There was no difference between the groups for child anthropometric outcomes at child age 24 months. At child age 24 months, we found no evidence of sustained intervention-effects. Although dietary patterns and mealtime routines at child age 24 months were reasonably consistent and in the same directions as at child age 12 months, the between-group differences were not significant. The large loss to follow-up may have limited power and validity and makes it difficult to draw overall conclusions. Future research is needed to improve knowledge of how short-time effects could be retained over longer term, taking into account that larger samples are necessary when planning longer-term follow-up studies. ISRCTN, ISRCTN13601567.
TitleImpact of mobile health (mHealth) interventions during the perinatal period for mothers in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review.
AuthorsDol, J; Richardson, B; Tomblin Murphy, G; Aston, M; McMillan, D; Campbell-Yeo, M
JournalJBI database of systematic reviews and implementation reports
Publication Date1 Aug 2019
Date Added to PubMed14 Aug 2019
AbstractThe primary objective of this review was to determine the impact of mother-targeted mobile health (mHealth) educational interventions available during the perinatal period in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) on maternal and neonatal outcomes. There has been significant growth of mHealth projects in LMICs. The use of mHealth interventions across the perinatal period offers the ability to share information with mothers about essential newborn care and to encourage mothers to attend perinatal clinics to obtain additional in-person support as needed. The impact of perinatal mHealth educational interventions on maternal behavior change and early neonatal mortality and morbidity outcomes in LMICs is unknown. This review considered studies that included mHealth educational interventions targeting mothers living in LMICs during the antenatal or postnatal period using mobile devices. The intervention must have been initiated during the antenatal period (conception through birth) through six weeks postnatally. All experimental study designs were included. Outcomes included maternal knowledge, maternal self-efficacy, antenatal/postnatal care attendance and newborn early morbidity and mortality. PubMed, Embase and CINAHL were searched on March 19, 2018 for studies published in English. The search was updated on June 7, 2018. Critical appraisal was undertaken by two independent reviewers using standardized critical appraisal instruments. Quantitative data were extracted from included studies independently by two reviewers using a standardized data extraction tool. All conflicts were resolved through consensus with a third reviewer. Quantitative data were, where possible, pooled in statistical meta-analysis. Where statistical pooling was not possible, the findings were reported narratively. A total of 1514 articles were screened, and 71 full-text papers were assessed for eligibility, with 23 articles critically appraised. Following appraisal, three articles were excluded due to poor quality. Of the 20 articles included, 16 were peer reviewed articles and four were gray literature reports. Eight papers targeted antenatal education, eight covered postnatal education and four covered both antenatal and postnatal education. Studies varied in terms of design, country, approach, frequency and content. Mothers who received an mHealth intervention attended a significantly greater number of antenatal care contacts (mean difference = 0.67, 95% confidence interval, 0.35 to 0.99, P = 0.0001) and were significantly more likely to have at least one postnatal care contact between six and eight weeks (odds ratio = 1.36, 95% confidence interval, 1.00 to 1.85, P = 0.05). Maternal knowledge, self-efficacy and neonatal mortality and morbidity were inconsistently reported across studies. mHealth education interventions are associated with increased maternal contact antenatally and postnatally in LMICs. Due to heterogeneity of studies among country of implementation, approach, frequency and content of the mHealth interventions, the impact on other maternal and neonatal outcomes is inconclusive. Future work using mHealth to target maternal education during the perinatal period should focus on standardization of content and outcome evaluations.
TitleThe Impact of an mHealth Voice Message Service (mMitra) on Infant Care Knowledge, and Practices Among Low-Income Women in India: Findings from a Pseudo-Randomized Controlled Trial.
AuthorsMurthy, N; Chandrasekharan, S; Prakash, MP; Kaonga, NN; Peter, J; Ganju, A; Mechael, PN
JournalMaternal and child health journal
Publication Date1 Dec 2019
Date Added to PubMed5 Oct 2019
AbstractObjectives mHealth interventions for MNCH have been shown to improve uptake of antenatal and neonatal services in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). However, little systematic analysis is available about their impact on infant health outcomes, such as reducing low birth weight or malnutrition among children under the age of five. The objective of this study is to determine if an age- and stage-based mobile phone voice messaging initiative for women, during pregnancy and up to 1 year after delivery, can reduce low birth weight and child malnutrition and improve women's infant care knowledge and practices. Methods We conducted a pseudo-randomized controlled trial among pregnant women from urban slums and low-income areas in Mumbai, India. Pregnant women, 18 years and older, speaking Hindi or Marathi were enrolled and assigned to receive mMitra messages (intervention group N = 1516) or not (Control group N = 500). Women in the intervention group received mMitra voice messages two times per week throughout their pregnancy and until their infant turned 1 year of age. Infant's birth weight, anthropometric data at 1 year of age, and status of immunization were obtained from Maternal Child Health (MCH) cards to assess impact on primary infant health outcomes. Women's infant health care practices and knowledge were assessed through interviews administered immediately after women enrolled in the study (Time 1), after they delivered their babies (Time 2), and after their babies turned 1 year old (Time 3). 15 infant care practices self-reported by women (Time 3) and knowledge on ten infant care topics (Time 2) were also compared between intervention and control arms. Results We observed a trend for increased odds of a baby being born at or above the ideal birth weight of 2.5 kg in the intervention group compared to controls (odds ratio (OR) 1.334, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.983-1.839, p = 0.064). The intervention group performed significantly better on two infant care practice indicators: giving the infant supplementary feeding at 6 months of age (OR 1.4, 95% CI 1.08-1.82, p = 0.009) and fully immunizing the infant as prescribed under the Government of India's child immunization program (OR 1.531, 95% CI 1.141-2.055, p = 0.005). Women in the intervention group had increased odds of knowing that the baby should be given solid food by 6 months (OR 1.89, 95% CI 1.371-2.605, p < 0.01), that the baby needs to be given vaccines (OR 1.567, 95% CI 1.047-2.345, p = 0.028), and that the ideal birth weight is > 2.5 kg (OR 2.279, 95% CI 1.617-3.213, p < 0.01). Conclusions for Practice This study provides robust evidence that tailored mobile voice messages can significantly improve infant care practices and maternal knowledge that can positively impact infant child health. Furthermore, this is the first prospective study of a voice-based mHealth intervention to demonstrate a positive impact on infant birth weight, a health outcome of public health importance in many LMICs.
TitleFactors Determining Patients' Choice Between Mobile Health and Telemedicine: Predictive Analytics Assessment.
AuthorsKhairat, S; Liu, S; Zaman, T; Edson, B; Gianforcaro, R
JournalJMIR mHealth and uHealth
Publication Date8 Jun 2019
Date Added to PubMed15 Jun 2019
AbstractThe solution to the growing problem of rural residents lacking health care access may be found in the use of telemedicine and mobile health (mHealth). Using mHealth or telemedicine allows patients from rural or remote areas to have better access to health care. The objective of this study was to understand factors influencing the choice of communication medium for receiving care, through the analysis of mHealth versus telemedicine encounters with a virtual urgent clinic. We conducted a postdeployment evaluation of a new virtual health care service, Virtual Urgent Clinic, which uses mHealth and telemedicine modalities to provide patient care. We used a multinomial logistic model to test the significance and predictive power of a set of features in determining patients' preferred method of telecare encounters-a nominal outcome variable of two levels (mHealth and telemedicine). Postdeployment, 1403 encounters were recorded, of which 1228 (87.53%) were completed with mHealth and 175 (12.47%) were telemedicine encounters. Patients' sex (P=.004) and setting (P<.001) were the most predictive determinants of their preferred method of telecare delivery, with significantly small P values of less than .01. Pearson chi-square test returned a strong indication of dependency between chief concern and encounter mediums, with an extremely small P<.001. Of the 169 mHealth patients who responded to the survey, 154 (91.1%) were satisfied by their encounter, compared with 31 of 35 (89%) telemedicine patients. We studied factors influencing patients' choice of communication medium, either mHealth or telemedicine, for a virtual care clinic. Sex and geographic location, as well as their chief concern, were strong predictors of patients' choice of communication medium for their urgent care needs. This study suggests providing the option of mHealth or telemedicine to patients, and suggesting which medium would be a better fit for the patient based on their characteristics.
TitleEffects of an mHealth voice message service (mMitra) on maternal health knowledge and practices of low-income women in India: findings from a pseudo-randomized controlled trial.
AuthorsMurthy, N; Chandrasekharan, S; Prakash, MP; Ganju, A; Peter, J; Kaonga, N; Mechael, P
JournalBMC public health
Publication Date1 Jun 2020
Date Added to PubMed4 Jun 2020
AbstractMobile Health (mHealth) is becoming an important tool to improve health outcomes in maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH). Studies of mHealth interventions, have demonstrated their effectiveness in improving uptake of recommended maternal services such as antenatal visits. However, evidence of impact on maternal health outcomes is still limited. A pseudo-randomized controlled trial (single blind) was conducted to assess the impact of a voice-message based maternal intervention on maternal health knowledge, attitudes, practices and outcomes over time: Pregnancy (baseline/Time 1); Post-partum (Time 2) and when the infant turned one year old (Time 3). Women assigned to the mMitra intervention arm received gestational age- and stage-based educational voice messages via mobile phone in Hindi and Marathi, while those assigned to the control group did not. Both groups received standard care. Two thousand sixteen women were enrolled. Interviews were conducted with 1516 women in the intervention group and 500 women in the control group at baseline and post-partum. The intervention group performed significantly better than controls on four maternal health practice indicators: receiving the tetanus toxoid injection (OR: 1.6, 95% Confidence Interval (CI): 1.05-2.4, p = 0.028), consulting a doctor if spotting or bleeding (OR: 1.72, 95%CI: 1.07-2.75, p = 0.025), saving money for delivery expenses (OR: 1.79, 95%CI: 1.38-2.33, p = 0.0001), and delivering in hospital (OR: 2.5, 95%CI: 1.49-4.35, p = 0.001). The control group performed significantly better than the intervention group on two practice indicators: resting regularly during pregnancy (OR: 0.7, 95%CI: 0.54-0.88, p = 0.002) and having at-home deliveries attended by a skilled birth attendant (OR: 0.46, 95%CI: 0.23-0.91, p = 0.027). Both groups' knowledge improved from Time 1 to Time 2. Only one knowledge indicator, on seeking medical care during pregnancy, was statistically increased in the intervention group compared to controls. Anemia status at or near the time of delivery was unable to be assessed due to missing data from maternal health cards. This study provides evidence that in low-resource settings, mobile voice messages providing tailored and timed information about pregnancy can positively impact maternal health care practices proven to improve maternal health outcomes. Additional research is needed to assess whether voice messaging can motivate behavior change better than text messaging, particularly in low literacy settings. The mMitra impact evaluation is registered with ISRCTN under Registration # 88968111, assigned on 6 September 2018 (See
TitleAssessing the feasibility of eHealth and mHealth: a systematic review and analysis of initiatives implemented in Kenya.
AuthorsNjoroge, M; Zurovac, D; Ogara, EA; Chuma, J; Kirigia, D
JournalBMC research notes
Publication Date10 Feb 2017
Date Added to PubMed12 Feb 2017
AbstractThe growth of Information and Communication Technology in Kenya has facilitated implementation of a large number of eHealth projects in a bid to cost-effectively address health and health system challenges. This systematic review aims to provide a situational analysis of eHealth initiatives being implemented in Kenya, including an assessment of the areas of focus and geographic distribution of the health projects. The search strategy involved peer and non-peer reviewed sources of relevant information relating to projects under implementation in Kenya. The projects were examined based on strategic area of implementation, health purpose and focus, geographic location, evaluation status and thematic area. A total of 114 citations comprising 69 eHealth projects fulfilled the inclusion criteria. The eHealth projects included 47 mHealth projects, 9 health information system projects, 8 eLearning projects and 5 telemedicine projects. In terms of projects geographical distribution, 24 were executed in Nairobi whilst 15 were designed to have a national coverage but only 3 were scaled up. In terms of health focus, 19 projects were mainly on primary care, 17 on HIV/AIDS and 11 on maternal and child health (MNCH). Only 8 projects were rigorously evaluated under randomized control trials. This review discovered that there is a myriad of eHealth projects being implemented in Kenya, mainly in the mHealth strategic area and focusing mostly on primary care and HIV/AIDs. Based on our analysis, most of the projects were rarely evaluated. In addition, few projects are implemented in marginalised areas and least urbanized counties with more health care needs, notwithstanding the fact that adoption of information and communication technology should aim to improve health equity (i.e. improve access to health care particularly in remote parts of the country in order to reduce geographical inequities) and contribute to overall health systems strengthening.
TitleAssessing the perspectives of users and beneficiaries of a community health worker mHealth tracking system for mothers and children in Rwanda.
AuthorsMusabyimana, A; Ruton, H; Gaju, E; Berhe, A; Grépin, KA; Ngenzi, J; Nzabonimana, E; Hategeka, C; Law, MR
JournalPloS one
Publication Date1 Dec 2018
Date Added to PubMed8 Jun 2018
AbstractMobile Health (mHealth) programs have increasingly been used to tackle maternal and child health problems in low and middle income countries. However, few studies have evaluated how these programs have been perceived by intended users and beneficiaries. Therefore, we explored perceptions of healthcare officials and beneficiaries regarding RapidSMS Rwanda, an mHealth system used by Community Health Workers (CHWs) that was scaled up nationwide in 2013. We conducted key informant interviews and focus group discussions with key stakeholders, providers, and beneficiaries of maternal and child health services at both the national and community levels. Semi-structured interviews were used to assess perceptions about the impact of and challenges facing the RapidSMS system. Interviews and focus group discussions were recorded (with the exception of one), transcribed verbatim, and analyzed. We conducted a total of 28 in-depth interviews and 10 focus group discussions (93 total participants). A majority of respondents believed that RapidSMS contributed to reducing maternal and child mortality rates. RapidSMS was generally accepted by both CHWs and parents. Participants identified insufficient training, a lack of equipment, and low CHW motivation as the main challenges facing RapidSMS. Our findings suggest that an mHealth program can be well accepted by both policymakers, health providers, and the community. We also found significant technical challenges that have likely reduced its impact. Addressing these challenges will serve to strengthen future mHealth programs.
MNCHFPRHHIV/AIDSMalariaNoncommunicable diseaseCOVID-19Decision-makingEducation & trainingBehavior changeGovernancePrivacy & securityEquityCHWsYouth & adolescentsSystematic reviewsProtocols & research designMedical RecordsLaboratoryPharmacyHuman ResourcesmHealthSMSChatbotsAI