Utilizing Mobile-Based Peer Support Networks to Improve Midwifery Service Delivery

  • Published Date: December 2015
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Providing maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH) services in rural locations can be a significant challenge due to community isolation, poor infrastructure, and rare or inadequate health worker training.

To support the implementation of MNCH service delivery improvement projects, the Leadership, Management, and Governance (LMG) Project integrated a peer support networking component into the LMG for Midwifery Managers course. This component was originally piloted using Management Sciences for Health's online social networking and learning platform, LeaderNet. Unfortunately, poor internet connectivity and limited interest led us to pursue a mobile technology alternative.

The LMG Project chose WhatsApp, and organized a pilot with two Cohort-specific messaging groups. The first Cohort is comprised of participants from Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, and Uganda. The second Cohort is comprised of participants from Lesotho, Rwanda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. This component enabled midwifery managers from eight of the implementing countries to participate in cross-border conversations about service delivery improvement strategies, monitoring and evaluation data, and provide peer support and encouragement during their six-month workplace interventions.