Mobile health (mHealth) intervention in maternal and child health care: Evidence from resource-constrained settings: A review



Abstract Introduction: Introducing innovative approaches such as mHealth to an efficient delivery of health services is considered appropriate strategy to alter the current deplorable high maternal and child mortality figures in low-income countries. Recently implemented mHealth projects are either pilot or applied at a limited scale and thus the existing body of research based knowledge is limited. Review and summarizing the existing scientific evidence of mHealth interventions and its health impacts related to MNCH in low-income countries is thus vital and timely for policy makers, researchers and health practitioners. Objective: To review and appraise the existing evidences of the impact of mHealth enabled interventions on maternal, newborn and child health in low-income countries. Methods: A comprehensive electronic literature search for relevant published articles was conducted on PubMed database using different search terms. PLoS (Public Library of Science), Google Scholar and Web of Science Database were also checked for available articles in the area. Inclusion and exclusion criteria’s were developed and appropriate articles were selected for detail analysis and review. Results: Out of the 998 articles accessed, 12 were finally reviewed for the intended purpose. Among the 12 relevant articles that were reviewed, ten (83%) studies were based on projects implemented in Africa. About 75 % (9/12) of the interventions focused on issues related to improving maternal health (ANC/ PNC), and child immunization coverage. Most of the studies showed positive relation of mHealth intervention with improvement of ANC/PNC, health service utilization, skilled delivery attendance, reduction in prenatal mortality and improved childhood immunization coverage. Ordinary mobile phones were used in nine out of the twelve studies. The majority (66.6%) of the interventions applied SMS based information sharing using mobile phone. Conclusion: The review demonstrated the presence of limited published studies on impact of mHealth on maternal and child health in resource limited settings. However, the findings verified that mHealth tools present an opportunity to influence maternal and child health service utilization by improving ANC/PNC attendance and delivery in health institutions. More research is needed to document use of technology for improved health service utilization. [Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 2015;29(3):140-153] Key words: mHealth, maternal and child health, resource-constrained settings, Ethiopia



How to Cite

Atnafu, A., Bisrat, A., Kifle, M., Taye, B., & Debebe, T. (2016). Mobile health (mHealth) intervention in maternal and child health care: Evidence from resource-constrained settings: A review. The Ethiopian Journal of Health Development, 29(3). Retrieved from

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