News Brief by Julia Zubiago
Johns Hopkins Center for Communications Programs has created an app whose use correlates with more widespread understanding of contraceptives for women in rural India. The app is designed to be used by community health workers in the area, so that they can show educational videos that provide important health information and dispel myths about contraception.
In order to assess the apps’ usefulness, several community health workers were provided with a smartphone loaded with the app, and several community health workers were provided with an SD card containing the same videos. Each set of community health workers visit about 1,400 rural women regularly. The workers with the app were able to customize their explanations of contraceptive procedures to the women’s questions, whereas those with only the SD cards could only show the videos.
Comparing the two conditions, 17% of women who had access to the smartphone app watched some of the videos, while only 2.4% of women who had access to the SD card watched the videos. Women who had been visited by a community health worker were 1.9 more times likely to be using contraception, and women who had watched the videos (regardless of on a smartphone or SD card) were 4.5 times more likely to be using contraception.
The destigmatization of contraceptive use and the proper information regarding their use can prevent the spread of STDs and give women the opportunity to prevent unwanted pregnancies. The use of technology to spread information in rural areas allows providers to customize information for the people they serve. Moreover, the app could be customized for use in multiple languages and for different kinds of health information necessary for a family.
Citation: Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. "Smartphone app linked to increase in contraceptive use in India: Small study shows technology transforms interaction between women, community health workers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 January 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160128094608.htm>.