Survey helps mapping for women’s health in Tanzania

Between May and September 2016, Simavi partnered up with TTC Mobile to investigate the quality of health facilities of the Same region in Tanzania for the Mobile Mapping for Women’s Health project. Using an offline surveying technique on smartphones, 1,518 women were asked about the health services they received and their satisfaction with them. Additionally, 108 men were surveyed about their involvement with the health of the women in their lives.

Mobile Mapping for Women’s Health
As the health of women and girls is of particular concern in countries such as Tanzania, the government of Tanzania has committed to improve basic health services and to lower maternal mortality rates by a third. To fulfill this responsibility, outdated systems need to be updated and local governments need solid information in order to improve their services. Mobile Mapping for Women’s Health aims to support communities to voice their needs to the local government, by gathering information about the experiences of women living in 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 and the barriers they face in accessing services.

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.

Offline face-to-face data collection using mobile phones
To collect the data for Simavi, TTC Mobile made use of smartphone software and trained enumerators to conduct face-to-face surveys and enter all responses in a smartphone. Seven enumerators from the district were trained to use this smartphone app and conducted surveys linked to their location, with women who had visited the health facility and women from the surrounding community who had not.

During the process of collecting data, Simavi decided that to get an accurate picture of women’s access to health services, it was important to involve the men in their lives. For this reason, TTC Mobile helped develop an additional survey targeting men.

Outcomes of the project
The outcomes of the survey gave many insights into the health of women and their experience with the facilities that they have access to. For instance, the surveys showed that none of the health facilities systematically performs the “six critical checks” on pregnant women (measuring blood pressure, pulse, temperature, respiration, anemia and breasts). During antenatal care visits, breasts were checked in only 27% of the cases and temperature was checked in only 38% of the cases. The survey among men led to helpful insights into the male involvement concerning women’s health. Up to 97% of the men who attended antenatal care visits knew about the importance of HIV testing, and this was only 62% for the men who did not attend the visit.

With this information Simavi aims to create clear and compelling evidence that local governments can use to plan service around women’s sexual and reproductive health, and that communities can use to make sure quality services are actually being delivered.

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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