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Adolescents/youth Reproductive Mobile Access and Delivery Initiatives for Love and Life Outcomes (ARMADILLO Project)

Introduction

There is a high unmet need for sexual and reproductive health (SRH) information and services for youth (defined as between the ages of 15 and 24) worldwide. However, financial, cultural, social, and legal considerations often impede youth accessing SRH resources. There are efforts in place to make facility-based services and health providers ‘youth-friendly’; however, a welcoming facility environment alone may not be enough to entice young people to enter and access the information and services available to them. Creating demand among youth in need of SRH resources for those youth-friendly services requires an enabling environment. Innovative solutions have been used to create this enabling environment, including the use of mobile phone technology to engage and inform youth around SRH issues. These approaches offer significant advantages, including the wide availability of mobile phones within this age group and the discretion mobile phones offer.

 

Project Partners

·         WHO’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research (RHR) serves as the coordinating body for the proposed study.

·         FHI360,  creator  of  the  original  m4RH  content,  is  a  core  partner  and  the  mHealth intervention lead for the proposed study

·         International Centre for Reproductive Health Kenya (ICRH-K) is the Kenya-site research lead

·         RapidPro, operated by UNICEF, has been tentatively identified as the technology partner

 

Research Objectives

The study aims to answer the following questions

1. Does the delivery of SRH content via mobile phones result in a higher level of youth exposure to and engagement with SRH information?

2. When compared to a control group, what is the effect of delivery of SRH content via mobile phone on (1) youth SRH knowledge and attitudes and (2) behavior among youth (i.e. condom use at last sex, contraceptive uptake, interpersonal communications about sex), including appropriate SRH care seeking behavior?

3. Is delivering SRH content via mobile phone a cost-effective communication strategy for adolescent/youth SRH programs?

 

Intervention

The ARMADILLO intervention will consist of an automated, interactive, and on-demand short message service (SMS, also known as ‘text message’) platform that will provide essential facts and address common misconceptions about a full range of  SRH issues pertinent  to youth, including puberty, sex and pregnancy, HIV and STIs, and contraception. Additionally the platform will contain various role model stories (featuring fictional peers modelling healthy SRH behaviours, including use of health services) as well as a directory of area youth-friendly services. The platform is modelled off of the Mobile for Reproductive Health (m4RH) programme developed by FHI360.

Methods

Stage 1; component 1 Formative research done with 12    FGDs for adolescents aged 15-24 and 4 FGDs with guardians/caregivers

Stage 2; component 2; Coverage

Component 3 – Impact

Component 4 - Cost effectiveness

 

CONTACTS

Prof. Peter Gichangi, Principal Investigator, Country Director and Director of Science & Research; peter@icrhk.org

Or

Jefferson Mwaisaka, Study Coordinator ARMADILLO; jefferson@icrhk.org

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