Maternal health behavior change: Women’s experiences as participants of an mHealth program in Timor-Leste
Dyer, Jessica Diana
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Background: Global maternal and neonatal mortality rates are unacceptably high. Programs that harness mobile technology represent a promising method to cost-effectively address profound maternal and neonatal health needs. The ways in which mHealth programs influence an individual’s decision-making regarding their health are underexplored. This study examines the influence of Liga Inan (LI), an mHealth program in Timor-Leste, on preventive maternal, neonatal, and child health (MNCH) behavior through the lens of women participating in the intervention. Methods: Qualitative data on participation in an mHealth program and self-reported maternal health behavior were collected through in-depth, semi-structured interviews (27) with participants of LI. The Social Ecological Framework, Health Belief Model, and techniques used by LI to target behavioral determinants guided qualitative analysis. Findings: This research demonstrates that LI influences important determinants of behavior among participants through the use of behavior change techniques at the individual, social, and health system levels, likely promoting healthier choices among participants during and immediately after pregnancy. Conclusion: mHealth can be an effective tool to influence key individual, social, and health system determinants of behavior and promote healthier choices among program participants while strengthening established health systems.
- Global health