Strengthening relationships to make childbirth safer


For safer pregnancies, Liga Inan facilitates two-way communication between pregnant women and health providers.

Helping families make informed decisions

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.

When it’s centred around people, simple mobile technology can enhance relationships and trust.

‘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.

Making things easier for frontline health workers

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.

Health staff are able to monitor the status of pregnant women, easily contact them, and view clinic statistics to track progress.
"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."
Casilda, midwife in Gleno, Ermera Municipality, Timor-Leste
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