Non-profit organisation that focuses on sexual and reproductive health, Pathfinder International, has developed and rolled out an mHealth app to improve post-abortion care in sub-Saharan Africa.
Around 6.9 million women are treated for complications from unsafe abortions each year in developing countries, a majority of which are in countries that have severe abortion laws that hinder the procedure being done in a safe and clean environment. For example, abortion is criminalised in Tanzania unless it’s required to save the woman’s life.
To combat the high rates of unsafe abortions, Pathfinder developed an app especially for sub-Saharan Africa that includes a series of checklists that outline the step-by-step process for the clinical procedure and provider-client interaction to help doctors with post-abortion care.
“We are committed to improving the quality of care for women seeking contraception and post-abortion care, and we saw gaps in provider skill and comfort level in some of the facilities we work that could increase quality of care,” said Technical Advisor for Digital Health at Pathfinder, Justin Maly, in an interview with IT Web Africa.
“We wanted to provide an easy to use tool that would help mentorship teams observe quality of service provision, as well as identify areas for improvement for facility providers to ensure steady improvement in service delivery in supported health facilities,” continued Maly.
The app was initially launched in Tanzania in March 2016 and later expanded to Mozambique as part of a partnership between Pathfinder and the local governments. The partnership aims to provide mentorship to health facility staff on post-abortion care; family planning counselling; the provision of contraceptive methods, data and stock management.
In Tanzania there are currently 64 mentors using the app in 49 facilities. “Mentorship teams in Tanzania make quarterly visits to supported health facilities to provide on-going mentorship support to providers of contraception and comprehensive post-abortion car. Mentorship teams observe trained providers as they provide these services,” said Maly.
“This is the first time in Tanzania that post-abortion care providers are being mentored using digital tools, and women are receiving better care as a result. We are already seeing increased ability of mentorship teams to observe service provision, provide on the job training in areas needing improvement, and review data related to quality of service provision,” concluded Maly.