Objectives: In recent years, mobile phones have rapidly evolved as tools for health promotion and disease prevention in low-resource settings. While mobile health (mHealth) projects have successfully demonstrated improvements in sexual and reproductive health outcomes, to date, no full-scale mHealth project exists for improving information, access or outcomes for abortion. This study aims to facilitate the development of a prototype mHealth smartphone application to provide information about and increase access to safe abortion in Indonesia.
Methods: Between October 2013 and January 2014, 15 in-depth interviews were conducted in collaboration with a safe abortion hotline among Indonesian women aged 18 or older who had safely self-induced abortion using misoprostol. Interviews explored four areas of interest: information needs about safe abortion including questions or concerns about misoprostol; individual mobile phone access and use patterns; comfort and literacy with mobile technologies; and desirable features of a safe abortion mHealth smartphone application. IRB approval was granted by the UCSF committee on human research.
Results: Preliminary results suggest that a smartphone application providing information about safe abortion would be desirable for women in Indonesia. Suggested features include instructions on protocol and administration of misoprostol for abortion, photographs and warnings about counterfeit misoprostol, reminders to take pills, information about normal side effects, information about when to seek care and geocoded maps for local health facilities.
Conclusions: Given the proliferation of smartphone use in Indonesia and elsewhere, there is great promise for mobile technology to empower women seeking abortion with accurate information about and improved access to safe medical abortion.