Improving women’s health through mobile mapping

Every woman or girl has the right to safe sex, a safe pregnancy, a safe birth and (if necessary) a safe interruption of unwanted pregnancy. Simavi aims to contribute to healthy communities and has been implementing community health projects in several countries across Africa and Asia. This year Simavi is partnering up with TTC Mobile to investigate the quality of the health facilities of the Same region in Tanzania for the Mobile Mapping for Women’s Health project.

Same is located in the Kilimanjaro region in the North-East of Tanzania.

Same is located in the Kilimanjaro region in the North-East of Tanzania.

Mobile Mapping for Women’s Health
The health of women and girls is of particular concern in countries such as Tanzania. Despite major improvements over the past decades, the maternal mortality ratio of Tanzania is 554 per 100,000 live births. Less than 42% of rural women in Tanzania deliver in a health facility. The government of Tanzania has therefore committed to improve basic health services and to lower maternal mortality rates by a third. To fulfill this responsibility, old paper-based systems need to be updated and local governments need solid information on which to base their decisions.

Mobile Mapping for Women’s Health aims to support the government in obtaining this information. For this project, Simavi works with local partners in rural communities to digitally map the availability, accessibility and quality of health services. The project is supported by Making All Voices Count.

Listening to the stories of women
Using the services of TTC Mobile, Simavi and local partner Médecins du Monde will gather information by listening to the women of the Same district, situated in the Kilimanjaro region of North-East Tanzania. For these women a survey was set up with questions regarding their experiences with their health facility.

In May 2016, seven enumerators from the district were trained in the use of the smartphone app that is used to conduct the surveys. Between June and September, the enumerators will be conducting surveys on their location, approaching women that have visited the health facility but also women from the surrounding community that have not. These women can provide valuable insights into why women choose not to visit the local health facilities.

An enumerator is posing questions to a woman visiting a health facility in Same. Her replies are captured with a survey app on a smartphone.

An enumerator is posing questions to a woman visiting a health facility in Same. Her replies are captured with a survey app on a smartphone.

TTC Mobile and Simavi aim to collect the opinions and experiences of women in 1 hospital, 6 health centers and within the communities of the district.

What next?
The data that is collected by the enumerators will be linked to GPS references of health facilities and displayed on a map to give a clear picture of where the data was collected. Mobile Mapping for Women’s Health aims to create clear and compelling evidence that local governments can use to plan services around women’s sexual and reproductive health, and that citizens can use to make sure quality services are actually being delivered. Jenni Sawyer, program officer at Simavi: “Evidence-based advocacy encourages health authorities to take real action to address the discrimination women face in Tanzania.” 

About Simavi
Simavi works towards basic health for all, as they consider health the first step out of poverty. Simavi realizes structural improvement to the health conditions of people in marginalized communities in Africa and Asia. Investments in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) are vital for people to be able to lead a healthy life.

 

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