A new article published in mHeath Journal — “Implementation of CycleTel Family Advice: an SMS-based service to provide family planning and fertility awareness information in India” — details the success and challenges of sharing reproductive health knowledge through mobile technology. Authored by Nicki Ashcroft, Victoria Shelus, Himanshu Garg, Courtney McLaron-Silk, and Victoria Jennings of Georgetown University’s Institute for Reproductive Health (IRH), the article explains results of a 2015 study ofCycleTel™ Family Advice.
Previous IRH research indicated that men and women in India would be interested in receiving sexual and reproductive health information through their mobile phones, and rapidly increasing access to mobile phones provided an opportunity for such an effort. Through the established Nokia Life Tools application, CycleTel delivered messages about male and female fertility, the menstrual cycle, and family planning methods. Survey data of CycleTel users — collected through phone interviews — showed significant increases in understanding of the menstrual cycle and fertile days, as well as agreement that one should use family planning if he or she wants to plan or prevent pregnancy.
The article expands upon lessons learned from the CycleTel Family Advice experience, which can be applied to future mHealth interventions. For example, messages were refined after the pilot testing to be more relevant to specific demographic groups; however, the collection of demographic data proved to be a barrier to acquiring new users. The study also highlighted the challenge of reaching app users for phone surveys.
Learn more about CycleTel.
Watch the CycleTel video.