SMSbunda; Leveraging Mobile Technology for Maternal and Child Health Education in Indonesia

Session: Technology to Improve Coverage and Quality of Maternal Newborn Care

Presenter: Sushanty, Jhpiego

In Indonesia, the Maternal and Child Health handbook has been used for 25 years to convey health education information to pregnant and postpartum mothers and families.  The handbook is distributed at one time during pregnancy, and the mother is encouraged to read it.  However, focus group discussion in two districts in Indonesia in 2014 shows that mothers usually forget where they keep it, use it as a fan when the day is hot, or even let the children play with it.  SMSBunda is a new approach to convey targeted, health education messages directly to mothers at times when mothers most need the information. The content of the MCH handbook has been “translated” into SMS messages that are sent out at frequent intervals according to the gestational age or age of the newborn. Results from an acceptability study of SMSbunda shows that mothers enjoy receiving messages, all of respondents read the message right away, and information is considered useful.   Since SMSbunda was launched in April 2014 to March 2015, 11000 mobile phone registered to this program, and trends show significant increases since September 2014.  However, people changing cell phone number frequently and the inability to use SMS technology especially among mothers with lower level of education are challenging the program.  Learning from its startup, demonstration, and full roll-out phase, registration for SMSbunda is improving by conducting intensive socialization and promotion, improving content of message, and service extension. Multiple schemes have been identified for program sustainability involving Private sector and Government of Indonesia, concomitant evidence demonstrating positive impact.