GetIN, a mobile App used to reach and follow-up young pregnant girls as a way of increasing access to antenatal care, skilled delivery and postpartum family planning in rural areas is showing successes, one year after it was launched in the South Western district of Kanungu,
In August 2018, the App recorded a milestone with 1,000 pregnant girls mapped, majority of these aged between 15-18 and others aged 19-21 years. An innovation of UNFPA, the GetIN Mobile App helps midwives and Community Health Extension Workers (CHEWS) to identify, record and follow-up pregnant girls in rural areas. Using geospatial technology, health workers are able to trace the physical location of the girls, store vital patient records and act on system notifications throughout the pregnancy.
Research shows that girls aged 10 – 14 years are five times more likely to die in pregnancy and childbirth related complications compared to the 20 to 24 year age group. Also, stillbirths and child deaths are 50 percent more likely to occur to mothers younger than 20 years because these girls are not physically and psychologically ready to become mothers.
One of the girls mapped with her spouse after delivering safely at Kambuga Health Centre IV
The GetIN App has improved communication between health workers and young pregnant girls, ensuring that these girls are followed up to attend all the recommended four antenatal visits and deliver at health facilities with supervision of a skilled health worker.
“Awareness about pregnancy danger signs has increased. These young mothers are fascinated by the phone because it makes them feel special when their personal information is entered into the system,” said Ms. August Bataringaya, a Community Health Worker, Rugyeyo Sub-county in Kanungu District. The mobile App has made follow-up easy and less tedious, Ms. Bataringaya adds.
UNFPA trained GetIN users to deliver youth friendly services. The community health workers in the district also see this digital tool as a way to advance their knowledge in technology.
“I don’t have to worry about losing any information because I know it is stored in the system,” says another community health worker in Kambuga.
The GetIN App is easy to use and can be used by any personnel with basic training.
Didas (Centre), an administrator, is seen mapping some of the pregnant girls at Kihihi Health Centre III
Nineteen year-old Patience Natukunda was escorted by her partner for antenatal and together they sat through the mapping process.
A midwife maps Ms. Natukunda (Left) as her spouse looks on.
Ms. Monica Kamusiime, a midwife at Matanda Health Centre II in Kanungu District says since the launch of the App in November 2017, sixteen of the girls mapped delivered at the health center and over 150 pregnant girls came for antenatal services per month compared to an average of 80 girls per month before the introduction of the App. In addition, because of the App, the girls are able to call the midwife for pregnancy-related advice. Once rolled out countrywide, it is hoped, the use of the GetIN App will see an increase in skilled deliveries at health centers, more mothers accessing antenatal care and family planning services.
Story by Kirabo Hope