The Liga Inan program, Timor-Leste's first mHealth project, is changing the way mothers & midwives stay in touch.
It’s all about communication
The Liga Inan (“Mobile Moms”) Project is using mobile phones to connect expectant mothers with health providers in Timor-Leste to improve the likelihood of a healthy pregnancy and birth.
Liga Inan cuts across geographic barriers to directly connect women to better health care in a country with high maternal and neonatal mortality.
Midwives can now use a mobile phone to register expectant mothers, track their progress, know when they go into labour and make arrangements for attending the delivery. Mothers continue to receive support through the first six weeks of the newborn's life.
Liga Inan also sends automated health promotional information via SMS to all registered pregnant mothers throughout their pregnancy to help them make better decisions about their pregnancy and link them with regular prenatal care.
Liga Inan recognises that a simple message can often make the biggest difference.
Pregnant women will receive weekly text messages with important health information and reminders to attend regular prenatal care
Many women in Timor-Leste live in remote and rural areas which makes it difficult for them to access health facilities and midwives.
As a result, many women find it difficult to get good advice and support to improve their chances of a having a safe pregnancy and healthy baby.
As soon as they have their first prenatal visit, women in the program will begin receiving twice weekly advice and reminders about what to expect at each stage and how they can best assure a happy outcome of their pregnancy.
Reminders will encourage them to attend the four prenatal visits that are recommended for full coverage of services.
Liga Inan enables midwives to broadcast useful health messages from their mobile phones to women and communities in Timor-Leste.
One of Liga Inan’s innovative functions is giving midwives the direct ability to create a network of women and tailor health messages to the needs of specific groups.
The midwife can write her own messages in her own style, and by sending the SMS to the Liga Inan system it will be broadcast to all her registered patients. She can even segment her patient group, for instance by sending an SMS only to mothers in one village.
Midwives can use local dialects to inform mothers about relevant local events, such as vaccination campaigns and mobile clinic schedules.
This community messaging function promotes independent action by midwives and enhances the effectiveness of the system by linking pregnant women with a familiar social network that incorporates their needs and reflects their values.
Liga Hau will offer pregnant women the option to contact their midwife with a question or a concern
Pregnant women may have questions that are not answered by the regular SMS messages they receive, or the custom messages from their midwife.
The Liga Hau (“Call me”) function allows pregnant women to request a call from their midwife to respond to a question or concern.
Project managers will monitor the Liga Hau requests to find out about the issues that are of most concern to women. This means health providers can constantly improve the quality of information sent to pregnant women and better meet their needs.
Liga Inan also sends SMS messages that inform midwives when their patients are nearing their delivery date.
Through trained health professionals and fully equipped facilities
An important part of the Liga Inan project is ensuring that midwives are fully trained in addressing emergency problems of pregnancy, including the delivery, postpartum and newborn periods.
The Timor-Leste Ministry of Health and Health Alliance International are committed to strengthening the quality of maternity care provided by midwives. And as Liga Inan will lead to increased awareness of maternal health services it is important that this demand is met by competent and helpful staff.
Improved communication will go a long way to help midwives develop professional and supportive relationships with their patients, whilst ongoing skills training builds the confidence and competence of the midwives to deliver healthy babies.
Family health promoters help mothers learn about health through home visits
Family health promoters are local volunteers that will help reinforce the new information for mothers, such as the value of having a midwife attend their delivery and how to recognize danger signs during pregnancy, delivery and post-partum.
The volunteers also support mobile clinics, where midwives can provide prenatal, postpartum and family planning services