The M-Access Project is Underway in Homa Bay
“I am very happy about the M-Access project because it will help pregnant mothers… to ask questions regarding their pregnancy from the comfort of their home”
– Community Health Worker, Rabuor, Homa Bay
The M-Access project, which begun in February 2016, is in the preliminary preparatory phase. This is an important stage for liaising with the stakeholders.
When establishing a new project in the community, it is important to carry out a thorough stakeholder analysis and figure out how best to have productive cooperation with them. This helps in determining common goals and potential for collaboration and improvement. In addition, the different stakeholders are able to share challenges already faced and areas of success. This enables better planning for the best use of resources to meet the project's objectives and prevents duplication of activities within the same community.
Community Health Workers (CHW) training
To kick off the project, RCTP-FACES trained 276 CHWs in East Karachuonyo, who will take part in the project. They were trained on Community Maternal and Neonatal Health, with the aim of enhancing their capacity to actively engage community residents, strengthen community resilience and improve overall maternal health literacy.
The training equipped them with knowledge to act as advisors and referral agents for pregnant women within their communities. The training included advanced communication skills, fundamentals of maternal health, and social determinants of health and case management.
The project team used this training as an opportunity to give CHW’s an orientation of the project, including how to identify pregnant women in the community and track their events using mobile phones. At the end of the training, the community health workers expressed excitement and optimism about the potential of this project to improve hospital deliveries and reduce maternal mortality in the region. This collaboration enabled them to view the M-Access project, not as a new project in the region, but as an exciting improvement to what they already do.
“I am very happy about the M-Access project because it will help pregnant mothers gain knowledge on their baby’s development and be able to ask questions regarding their pregnancy from the comfort of their home” – M.A, CHW, Rabuor Community Unit
“This project will enable more women to deliver in hospital, which is a great step towards reducing maternal and newborn deaths” – N.A, CHW, Kanyango Community Unit
Trimester based SMSes
The mobile phone platform, will send out weekly text messages to empower pregnant women. The RCTP-FACES team has adapted and modified messages from Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA) that will be sent to the women participants on a weekly basis. These messages have been translated to both Swahili and Luo languages and programmed into the M-Access platform ready to be rolled out.
Mapping transport vendors
In Homa Bay, lack of transport to health facilities, lack of funds for transport and distance to health facility are major challenges that hamper pregnant woman from giving birth at a health facility. This may lead to death of the mother and the unborn child. The M-Access navigation system forms the foundation of a strong transport system, enhancing referral of pregnant women from communities to health facilities.
With the aid of CHWs and community members, the RCTP-FACES team has mapped out motorbike riders in East Karachuonyo. A total of 162 riders who are trained, licensed, and have mobile phones will get additional training on safe motorcycle riding and the urgency of the needs of the women in labour.
CooP-Kenya (Cycling out of Poverty Foundation Kenya) will modify the motorcycles so that a trailer can be attached, turning them into motorcycle ambulances. Women in labour can hence be carried comfortably to the nearest health facility. The trailer will also have an outside canvas to protect against adverse weather conditions. The trailer will be placed in a central unit that is easily accessible by all motorcycle riders within each community.