The Role of a Decision-Support Smartphone Application in Enhancing Community Health Volunteers’ Effectiveness to Improve Maternal and Newborn Outcomes in Nairobi, Kenya

Project Period

May 2016 - May 2018

Project Partners

  • County Innovations Challenge Fund (CICF)

This study seeks to develop and validate a decision-support algorithm within an m-Health application to improve Maternal and Newborn Health (MNH) outcomes in the urban informal settlements within Kamukunji Sub-County in Nairobi. In order to assess the added value of using a CHV decision-support module of mobile partnership for maternal, newborn and child health (mPAMANECH) in reducing prenatal and postnatal maternal complications and newborn deaths, three specific research objectives were identified, namely, feasibility, acceptability and effects of the intervention.

The mobile application was developed as an integrated data capture tool with selected CHV reporting tools i.e. MOH 100, MOH 513 and MOH 514, and a decision support tool. The system was connected to selected health facilities in an attempt to improve CHV decision-making and referral mechanisms for mothers and newborns. Following a year of implementation, we explored the experiences of CHVs, health workers and members of sub-county health management teams with respect to improving maternal and newborn health outcomes in Kamukunji.

The findings reveal the necessity in considering the information and communication technology (ICT) readiness of users as well as the political and sociocultural environment. They also emphasize the importance of users in the development of such solutions. The study also demonstrates the feasibility and acceptability of this type of research in a previously under-researched sub-population. It serves as a basis for future work that could highlight opportunities to respond to the persistent challenges surrounding m-Health implementation in low-resource settings.

As more healthcare delivery models are developed, harnessing the potential of digital technologies to strengthen health systems is critical, as this provides a foundation for further innovation. Furthermore, the integration of new solutions into existing ones has the potential to improve use.


  • Start date: May 2016
  • End date: May 2018


  • County Innovation Challenge Fund (CICF) with Funds from the UK Department for International Development (DFID)


  • Dr. Pauline Bakibinga: Associate Research Scientist/Project Manager
  • Ms. Eva Kamande: Research Officer
  • Ms. Milka Omuya: Field Supervisor
  • Ms. Lyagamula Kisia: Field Supervisor