Mobiles reaching moms in Cambodia PLUS data findings from the field



According to the Czech nonprofit organization and MAMA Community Member People in Need (PIN), delayed seeking of formalized health care for babies and young children is a common problem in rural Cambodia. Mothers often do not go to the health center with their infants and young children until it is too late. The prevalence of neonatal death in Cambodia is high—27 deaths per 1,000 live births and in the district of Kampong Chhnang province, it is almost double that at 45 per 1,000 live births.

To address these challenges, PIN is working to launch a mobile voice-messaging system and hotline to target women with newborn babies who deliver at local health centers. PIN has partnered with a non-governmental organization, Open Institute, and tech platform, InSTEDD, to develop the software and mobile infrastructure. They have also worked with experts in social marketing and behavior change to design and script the messages. They found that a dramatic interpretation rather than instructional version of the MAMA messages (for example – they use different characters: a midwife, a village health volunteer, a village chief speaking about personal experiences in first person) made the messages more memorable and relatable.

PIN’s pilot lasted from September 2013 to December 2013 in Kampong Chhnang province and was supported by funds from the Czech Development Agency. Kampong Chhang has 11  local-health centers and 1 referral hospital, over 50 health workers and roughly 2,500 births annually. The pilot delivered interactive voice response (IVR) messages directly to 455 mothers and focused specifically and exclusively on the neonatal period.

The main aims of this pilot were to 1) test the acceptability of using mobile phone technology as a way of health promotion and 2) increase visitations to the Health Centre/Facility to prevent neonatal deaths in Kampong Chhnang. PIN underwent a feasibility study beforehand and the report highlights the findings of PIN staff in the target areas to support the development of their mobile health pilot. We at MAMA Global believe it offers many valuable insights into user testing and customer acquisition. Happy Reading!