For the eastern state of Bihar, in the districts of Madhubani, Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur, Saran and Gaya, 2020 presented an opportunity to use technology to interact with potential and existing family planning clients, and share critical COVID-19 information.
With India having gone under lockdown, thousands of migrant laborers returned to their villages from cities where they worked. Bihar, which contributes to one of the highest migrant labor workforces in the country, experienced a large return migration.
Eventually, health care facilities focused on responding to the COVID-19 crisis and halted health services like Village Health and Nutrition Days, immunization and family planning.
Supported by The David & Lucile Packard Foundation, Jhpiego has worked for close to a decade to strengthen family planning services in Bihar. In the midst of the lockdown, with movement and regular family planning services affected, Jhpiego partnered with Nivi, Inc., to use mobile phones as a means to provide citizens with information about COVID-19 and family planning services.
Using the digital chatbot service, askNivi, the WhatsApp- and Facebook Messenger-enabled application, provided targeted health messaging to the key audience. Tracking behavior outcomes, follow-ups and reminders were auto-enabled for their consistency in availing services for family planning and COVID-19.
This 6-month pilot project also allowed the district health authorities to study the possibilities of a public-private partnership to address the health crisis.
Users reported liking the technology, which helped teams analyze the uptake and adoption of contraceptive methods.
Result: 2,251 users requested information about condoms, injections, intrauterine contraceptive devices and sterilization; 879 sought contraceptive screenings to identify the optimal family planning method for themselves and their partners. Of those who engaged, 13 percent were referred to nearby public health facilities, based on method of choice and convenience. This was higher than the industry standard of eight percent for health care referrals.
Interested to know how it was done? Read more here.