Ghana Library Authority - Northern Regional Library

Impact Assessment Results

Library SMS service contributes to maternal health

PLIP grantee: Ghana Library Authority - Northern Regional Library

Impact study results, April 2013:
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Northern Regional Library’s Technology for Maternal Health service aims to help reduce maternal mortality by improving pregnant women’s access to vital health information.

The service, which uses information and communication technology (ICT), including computers, the internet, mobile phone text messaging (SMS) and radio, and hosts public events at which health workers give presentations and discuss women’s concerns, was one of 13 public and community library services funded by EIFL-PLIP in April 2012.

Here we present results of impact assessment conducted a year later, in April 2013. Read more in the document titled Impact Study Results, above.

Previous project updates:

Library’s maternal health SMS service reaches over 90 women

Library service aims to reduce maternal mortality

Background to Technology for Maternal Health

Serving a community need
Accurate statistics for maternal mortality (death through complications related to pregnancy and childbirth) are hard to come by in Ghana, because of the unknown numbers of women and adolescent girls who die silently in communities and are quietly buried without registration.  However, there is general agreement that the numbers – estimated at between 1,400 and 3,900 a year – are unacceptably high. Similarly, it is difficult to quantify deaths of infants.

Every month, the Northern Regional Library in Ghana hosts Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) lectures. After lectures on the value of ICT to heath services, health workers reported that pregnant mothers were only visiting clinics about once a month, and that the time they were able to spend with the mothers-to-be was insufficient to provide much-needed advice and guidance.
The new service
The Technology for Maternal Health service aims to reduce maternal and infant mortality by providing information and advice. Northern Regional Library will create an e-health corner, equipped with five computer terminals and Internet access. Working with their partners, the library will train health workers to research the Internet for information about maternal health, and to create health information packs. They will also train health workers to create short messages about maternal health to send to mothers-to-be via mobile phone text messaging (SMS) each week. The service will directly reach 100 mothers-to-be by sending them two health text messages a week for 10 months. Community health workers will also organize meetings of pregnant women and mothers in the library, reaching at least 200 more expectant mothers with health information.
Working together
Northern Regional Library will partner with Savana Signatures, a local ICT4D agency. Savana Signatures will provide training for the health workers and expertise in installing equipment and setting up systems for the SMS information service.

The Ministry of Health will provide content for the service and select health workers for training.  The Tamale Metropolitan Assembly will facilitate the partnership with the mothers.

Community health nurses, who have direct contact with the pregnant women, will be vital to the success of the project, and will package content, send text messages and organize meetings with mothers.

Capture: Health workers at the library's monthly ICT4D forum. The library's new service grew out of health workers' concern about maternal mortality.

For further information, contact Mr Aaron Kuwornu, aaronkuwornu[a]

Northern Regional Library

P.O. Box 145 Tamale, Northern Region, Ghana.

Telephone: +233 244 851 685