As low- and middle-income countries transition from paper to digital systems, family planning programs can benefit from unprecedented opportunities to improve services. Investments in digital health tools have expanded exponentially, but information on what works—and what does not— remains limited and scattered. As investments have increased, digital applications and data fragmentation have proliferated, but stakeholders are moving towards more coordinated efforts to scale digital health solutions, support countries’ digital health infrastructure, and share evidence-based learnings.
This Digital Health Compendium enables users to explore case studies across a range of digital health technologies used to enhance family planning programs mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, but also in other regions of the world. Digital health applications in family planning programs can be broadly classified as those affecting demand generation, service delivery, supply chain management, and the policy and enabling environment. In many low- and middle-income countries, digital health innovations were adopted earlier in other health sectors, including HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, and noncommunicable disease prevention and response. As a result, much of the impact evidence is likewise restricted to those sectors. To advance greater adoption of digital technology in family planning programs, more data and information on the challenges, opportunities, scalability, and results are needed. This compendium aims to consolidate emerging information and data on applications of digital technology in family planning programs to inform adoption and scale-up of successful approaches.
All of the case studies were submitted by the implementing organizations and include a description of the digital health intervention, program context, and, if available, important findings and lessons learned through rigorous evaluations or program data. The compendium facilitates a quick search for case studies based on the target user for digital health intervention, building block for the digital health enabling environment, family planning program classification, and country location. The case studies give policy and program decisionmakers insights on real-world applications of digital health, promising practices, challenges, and other lessons that can be applied to current and future programs.
Regional Program Manager (Northern)
The information below appeared in the original case study.
Text to Change
Learning, M&E Coordinator
SEND Foundation Ghana
Country Manager, Ghana
Client, Data Services Provider
Legislation, Policy, and Compliance
Demand Generation, Service Delivery, Policy and Enabling Environment
This case study was originally published in the mHealth Compendium Volume , developed by the African Strategies for Health project, implemented by Management Sciences for Health with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Updates to the original case study, submitted by the implementing organization in March 2021, appear in the final section of this case study.
PartMe is an ICT for development project that uses technology to facilitate data collection and information dissemination between SEND-Ghana, its grassroots partners, health providers, national health insurance and policy – makers in the health sector in Ghana. The project has developed and deployed an information management tool (customized ODK) to enable mobile data collection. This tool is installed on mini laptops and mobile phones, which have been distributed to the newly formed District Citizen Monitoring Committees (DCMCs). For data collection DCMCs download the surveys, while they have internet access, but during the data collection itself they don’t have to be online. Once the data has been collected, internet access is needed to submit the data to a remote server (central database).
At the SEND-Ghana office, SPSS software is being used to analyze the collected data. The findings are used by SEND for advocacy on the accessibility and utilization, as well the quality of implementation of pro-poor health policies. SEND conducted surveys to monitor the National Health Insurance Policy, the Free Maternal Care policy, the Community-based Health Planning and Service Policy. The findings are also being used to enhance the quality of SEND-Ghana’s website (http://www.sendwestafrica.org/) by ensuring regular and timely updates on the results of the surveys and advocacy activities.
In addition, a virtual platform (e.g D-Group) is being used to discuss key-issues on pro-poor health policies with stakeholders. The evidence from the reports are used to encourage policy makers to change the policies based on collected evidence and used to start sensitization activities by DCMCs in districts were citizens lack certain knowledge about health policies.
In August 2014 an impact analysis was conducted. Results are expected in December 2014, however internal learning and review meetings conducted give very promising results for the PartMe program:
Collecting evidence in 50 districts provides benchmark data to compare districts; This gives input for dialogue with health providers and policy makers to define local action plans to improve health care
The shift from paper to electronic data collection has allowed SEND Foundation to create a better picture of civic involvement in Ghana. Starting this dialogue between DCMCs, local policy makers and health providers has created a focus on local improvements. SEND’s activities have also led to an increase in the number of subscribers of the National Health Insurance Scheme.
The PartME project utilized a mobile information management approach to empower citizens, collect data, and disseminate information for SEND GHANA’s monitoring and evaluation of government policies and programs, but is no longer active.
Following the end of the PartME project in 2015, SEND GHANA scaled the model up, incorporating it into its public policy advocacy work across all sectors. For example, the PartME model was used to implement the European Union-funded IMPROVE project, which focused on improving maternal health through participatory governance in Northern Ghana.
The PartME project contributed to improved maternal health service delivery (i.e., prenatal care, postnatal care, skilled delivery, and family planning) and increased responsiveness of health service providers and government. Citizens’ efforts to raise awareness of maternal health issues prompted stakeholder engagement, and project participants were able to gather evidence, monitor health service provisions, and engage in policy dialogues and responsiveness tracking.
Specifically, the project findings indicated that citizens were meaningfully engaged in regular and successful interaction with metropolitan, municipal, and district assemblies (MMDAs) and with ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) and achieved the following outcomes:
The PartMe project ended upon its successful implementation, but the model has been scaled up to cover other sectors beyond health to ensure sustainability.