There 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, https://www.isrctn.com/holding