Research Priorities for mHealth and Innovative Strategies in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in the WHO Africa Region

SRHR Messaging


The use of mobile phones continues to rise rapidly in the provision of health related services. Many countries have adopted the use of mobiles to provide sexual and reproductive health and rights and especially among the adolescents where specific messages are tailored for various audiences with specific messages. The purpose of this paper is to present the results of a research priority setting exercise on mHealth and innovative strategies.

Methods: We adapted Child Health and Nutrition Research Initiative methodology to identify and set research priorities on mHealth and innovative strategies that respond to sexual and reproductive health and rights services. General potential research questions were gathered online from multiple stakeholders in the region and sent for consolidation consolidated to technical experts in World Health Organization headquarters. The second phase involved a meeting with experts to review and thematically analyze the questions list of 33 questions producing a list of 22 research questions. The questions were scored against a six point criteria and ranked accordingly. Ten top priority research questions were identified.

Results: Lists of 33 priority research questions for mHealth and innovative strategies were proposed for discussions by 67 stakeholders. The questions were reviewed, scored and ranked in a technical meeting by experts. The highest ranking questions at 87% include evaluation of mHealth for data management and sexual and reproductive health and rights decision making, assessment of innovative local financing techniques to support community based sexual reproductive health and rights and evaluation of the role of mobile technologies in referral and counter referral.

Conclusions: Information and communication technology is developing drastically and has a great potential in improving health especially in sexual and reproductive health and rights service delivery. This potential must be demonstrated with more relevant and quality research on mHealth and innovative strategies priorities identified.