In 2009, PROGRESS began developing the Mobile for Reproductive Health (m4RH) project, which has developed a set of text messages on family planning methods that users can access via their mobile phones.
This low-cost approach to reaching contraceptive users has the potential to improve uptake, correct use, and continuation of chosen methods and is currently being tested in the field.
The messages provide evidence-based information from the World Health Organization family planning handbook for providers. They are crafted specifically for short message service (SMS) or text message use, designed and tested to ensure user comprehension within the 160 character limit. The m4RH system also provides service delivery information so users can locate clinics to provide more information and the family planning method of their choice.
Kenya: Currently PROGRESS funding will support the operation of m4RH through early 2013. An mHealth Task Force was formed within the Division of Reproductive Health (DRH) of the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation in order to coordinate in-country mHealth activities and help to identify a sustainability plan for m4RH. FHI 360's Kenya office staff members are involved in this task force and with the efforts to identify opportunities to hand-over m4RH to other communications or service-delivery partners.
Tanzania: During the m4RH pilot project, the Tanzania Capacity and Communication Project (TCCP), operated by Johns Hopkins University, incorporated m4RH service within their FP campaign called "Jiamini!" ("be confident"). M4RH was included in Jiamini! radio and TV spots with a national reach, leading to a dramatic increase in the use of m4RH. As a result of this successful partnership, JHU-TCCP is interested in incorporating m4RH into their current programming; discussions have begun and hand-over is expected soon.