Article Text

Download PDFPDF

The role of a decision-support smartphone application in enhancing community health volunteers’ effectiveness to improve maternal and newborn outcomes in Nairobi, Kenya: quasi-experimental research protocol
  1. Pauline Bakibinga,
  2. Eva Kamande,
  3. Milka Omuya,
  4. Abdhalah K Ziraba,
  5. Catherine Kyobutungi
  1. Health Challenges and Systems Research Program, African Population and Health Research Center, Nairobi, Kenya
  1. Correspondence to Dr Pauline Bakibinga; paulabak80{at}


Introduction Improving maternal and newborn survival remains major aspirations for many countries in the Global South. Slum settlements, a result of rapid urbanisation in many developing countries including Kenya, exhibit high levels of maternal and neonatal mortality. There are limited referral mechanisms for sick neonates and their mothers from the community to healthcare facilities with ability to provide adequate care. In this study, we specifically plan to develop and assess the added value of having community health volunteers (CHVs) use smartphones to identify and track mothers and children in a bid to reduce pregnancy-related complications and newborn deaths in the urban slums of Kamukunji subcounty in Nairobi, Kenya.

Methods and analysis This is a quasi-experimental study. We are implementing an innovative, mHealth application known as mobile Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (mPAMANECH) which uses dynamic mobile phone and web-portal solutions to enable CHVs make timely decisions on the best course of action in their management of mothers and newborns at community level. The application is based on existing guidelines and protocols in use by CHVs. Currently, CHVs conduct weekly home visits and make decisions from memory or using unwieldy manual tools, and thus prone to making errors. mPAMANECH has an in-built algorithm that makes it easier, faster and more likely for CHVs to make the right management decision. We are working with a network of selected CHVs and maternity centres to pilot test the tool. To measure the impact of the intervention, baseline and end-line surveys will be conducted. Data will be obtained through qualitative and quantitative methods.

Ethics and dissemination Ethical approval for the study was obtained from the African Medical Research Foundation. Key messages from the results will be packaged and disseminated through meetings, conference presentations, reports, fact sheets and academic publications to facilitate uptake by policy-makers.

  • decision-support
  • community health volunteers
  • maternal and newborn health
  • slums
  • Kenya

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Contributors PB, CK, EK and AKZ conceived the project and its design and participated in refining the manuscript. MO contributed to the refining of the design. PB drafted the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding This project is supported by the County Innovation Challenge Fund for Kenya (GR: CICF-INN-R2-088). The funder had no role in the decision to write and publish this protocol.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) ESRC.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.