The Guardian has featured an intervention being implemented by IntHEC, one of LSTM’s research projects. The intervention entails a platform to test an SMS sexual reproductive health referral system for adolescents in Tanzania. Working in the Mwanza region, the referral system aims to improve communication between informal village drug stores and local health centres and dispensaries.
When a young person turns up at a drug store seeking reproductive or sexual health services, an SMS will be sent to the local health centre or dispensary with details of the service to be provided. A unique passcode will then be sent automatically to the drug store owner for them to pass on to the client. When the client presents this referral code at the health centre or dispensary, they receive a confidential, fast-track service. A text message is then sent by the health centre or dispensary to the National Institute of Medical Research (NIMR). This SMS contains patient data (age, gender and medical condition), as well as information on the medical procedure or treatment provided. NIMR and LSTM will then use this data and compare it with data collected in a control community which doesn’t have the SMS referral system.
The Guardian newspaper has featured this intervention as one of new technologies to deliver sexual and reproductive health services. Click here to read the article in full.