Online Program

Sex Workers Making Selections: Developing a mobile SMS-based reproductive health intervention for sex workers in Cape Town, South Africa

Monday, November 2, 2015

Vivian Nguyen, B.A., Department of Global Health, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY
Ian Kwok, B.S., Department of Global Health, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY
Renita Kim, B.S., Department of Medical Education, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY
Kristina Wong, B.S., Disease Prevention and Public Health Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY
Jennifer Galjour, MD/MPH, Department of Emergency Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY
Sex Workers Making Selections is an interactive SMS-based healthcare intervention designed to connect female sex workers to appropriate, safe, and confidential reproductive resources in Cape Town, South Africa. Essential health services are underutilized by sex workers due to barriers such as poverty, occupational discrimination, and mistreatment at facilities that are not sensitized to sex workers' needs. A thorough needs and context assessment was conducted to learn about sex workers’ experiences in accessing healthcare. The lack of reproductive health information available for this vulnerable population was identified as a primary detriment to their health outcomes, resulting in unplanned pregnancies and acquisition of sexually transmitted infections. In recent years, mobile health (mHealth) programs have emerged as effective tools for patient communication in resource-limited settings. We explored the feasibility of using SMS technology to provide pertinent reproductive health information for female sex workers through a systematic, user-centered development process. The comprehensive development study of our mHealth intervention included conceptualization, formative research, preliminary content assessment, and usability testing by the target population.

Learning Areas:

Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Identify the reproductive health needs of sex workers in Cape Town, South Africa. Describe the development of an mHealth program to provide users with reproductive health information and referrals to appropriate healthcare services. Assess the acceptability and feasibility of an SMS-based mHealth intervention among sex workers.

Keyword(s): Sex Workers, Reproductive Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: In addition to my formal education in Global Public Health, I have extensive experience working in developing communities around the world. My interest has primarily been in the maternal and child health sector, with a specific focus on providing basic healthcare and education to underserved populations.
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.