To improve the likelihood of pregnant women delivering with a skilled birth attendant
A mobile health initiative that strengthens communication, information sharing and clinic planning
70,000 women registered
3 million SMS messages sent with information on maternal and child health
Enrolled women are 2x more likely to deliver their baby at a health facility
Enrolled women are 5x more likely to attend follow-up care after their baby is born
Health Alliance International and the Timor-Leste Ministry of Health, supported by Australian Aid
No woman or baby should die during childbirth. But in remote and rural areas, access to healthcare can be challenging. Babies are frequently born at home in Timor-Leste, lacking access to medical care. Nationally, maternal and infant mortality ratios are high.
The challenge we began with was health staff telling us they wanted help encouraging pregnant women to visit them frequently. From early research that showed women have access to mobile phones, Liga Inan began leveraging this to bring women and health providers closer together.
‘Hey Maria, have you taken your iron tablets today? Good iron levels can help you and your baby stay healthy.’
‘Hi Sandra, your delivery date is four weeks from now. Have you talked to your midwife about a birth plan?’
Liga Inan messages are designed through a rigorous behavioural research process. Pregnant women receive information via SMS to help them make informed decisions throughout the journey, tailored to their stage of pregnancy and continuing up to six months post-birth. They include nudges to visit their clinic at critical times, prevent disease, and make preparations for delivery. Through the system, women can also request a call back from a midwife, and receive broadcast messages about important community events like vaccination days
The Liga Inan program has also expanded to Liga Familia, which uses the same messaging system to encourage fathers-to-be to actively support women and their newborn children throughout the journey.
For midwives and doctors, using the Liga Inan system lets them register expectant mothers, track their progress and help them plan delivery. Simple prompts, such as notifications about upcoming births, encourage them to stay in touch with pregnant women. The app also collects health data from clinics and displays it for staff to see, helping them monitor and make decisions about health services.
"A pregnant woman came to our health facility last week. She told us that she's illiterate but sends her daughter to school. Her daughter is the one who usually reads Liga Inan messages to her. Her daughter informed her that according to the message from Liga Inan, she was expected to deliver in a couple of days. So the pregnant woman came to the health facility and delivered with the assistance of a health provider. Both mother and baby are well."