203637 Use of private sector approaches and information technology as a scale-up strategy for family planning

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 1:10 PM

Priya Jha, MA , Institute for Reproductive Health, Georgetown University, New Delhi, India
Laura Raney, MA , Family Health International, Arlington, VA
Katherine Lavoie, MPH , Institute for Reproductive Health, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
Victoria Jennings, PhD , School of Medicine, Dept of OB/GYN; Institute for Reproductive Health, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
Information technology and private sector approaches are promising yet overlooked strategies for scaling up health innovations in areas with limited resources, fragile health systems, and largely rural populations. Cell phones are the fastest-growing technology in the developing world. The vast majority of subscribers are women and men ages 15-49, a key age group for reproductive health interventions. Short Message Service (SMS) applications represent a way to transmit timely, personalized health messages directly to a person's cell phone. In India, a country where many women and couples lack access to family planning and which has the world's second fastest growing telecom market, SMS reach is increasing rapidly among potential beneficiaries. Likewise, in the Philippines, a country characterized by high fertility and stagnant economic growth, very high use of cell phones and SMS provides a unique opportunity to expand family planning use and improve reproductive health. Corporate partnerships are essential for accessing such technologies, and Georgetown University has utilized Global Development Alliance funds provided by USAID to develop such partnerships to expand access to the Standard Days Method (SDM), a knowledge-based family planning method requiring no commodity or visits to a health care provider that is currently being scaled up in both countries. This paper describes preliminary data from proof-of-concept and willingness-to-pay studies, which suggest that offering the SDM and related reproductive health information through SMS would be a significant, scalable, and sustainable approach. Plans for expansion will be discussed.

Learning Objectives:
Describe how cell phone technology may be used to expand access to reproductive health information in low resource areas Provide an example of a public-private partnership designed to scale up a health intervention

Keywords: Family Planning, Information Technology

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Directed scale up activities in India since 2006. Over 10 years family planning program experience.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.