A new smartphone app designed for use by ASHAs has been linked to an increase in the contraceptive use in India. The app, containing motivational videos developed to help married rural women in India better understand contraceptive choices, led to a dramatic increase in the number of women using modern family planning methods in just a few months, the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (CCP) research suggests.
The researchers say that women who watched videos were 4.5 times more likely to use modern contraceptive methods than those who did not. The findings show that mobile technology provides an innovative and dynamic platform for social and behavior change communication, says team lead Sanjanthi Velu, adding that it can encourage conversations between women and frontline health workers that are interactive, culturally relevant, and personalized - and that lead to increased, sustained use of modern contraceptive methods. As part of a larger communications initiative, CCP developed the app, called Gyan Jyoti, or "light of knowledge," for use in the state of Bihar in India under Project Ujjwal, a UK aid-funded family planning project led by Palladium.
The app is designed for use by ASHAs, community health workers in India, who visit the homes of rural women to promote family planning and other healthy behaviors. The app incorporates a variety of videos about family planning and modern contraceptive methods, including entertaining and educational films, testimonials from happy couples who are using contraception, Q & A videos with physicians and other information that aims to dispel myths and misconceptions. The study is presented at the International Family Planning Conference in Nusa Dua, Indonesia.