Evaluating feasibility, reach and potential impact of a text message family planning information service in Tanzania.
BACKGROUND: The objective of this research was to evaluate the feasibility, reach and potential behavioral impact of providing automated family planning information via mobile phones to the general public in Tanzania.
STUDY DESIGN: Data from users of the Mobile for Reproductive Health (m4RH) program were collected during the 10-month pilot period. First, contraceptive methods queried by each user were electronically logged by the mobile phone system. Second, four text questions assessing gender, age, promotion point and potential family planning impact were sent to every user.
RESULTS: During the pilot period, 2870 unique users accessed m4RH in Tanzania, resulting in 4813 queries about specific contraceptive methods. Among those responding to text questions, 56% were female and approximately 60% were 29 or younger years in age. A variety of changes in family planning use were mentioned after using m4RH, with reported changes consistent with where users are in their reproductive life cycle.
CONCLUSIONS: Reaching younger people, women and men of reproductive age with family planning information delivered via mobile phone is recommended.
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