A new mobile technology that helps in accessing important data on family planning and reproductive health every six months has been developed.

This technology is designed to help sub-Sahara African countries to track the number of people who are actively engaged in family planning.

The technology is currently being used in eight countries in sub-Sahara Africa — Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Niger, and Uganda — and two countries in Asia (India and Indonesia) through in-country partner universities and research organisations, with the aim of building local capacity.

Performance Monitoring and Accountability 2020 (PMA2020), the name of the technology, is a 40-million-dollar  project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation which uses the mobile technology to provide information useful for reporting, planning, operational decisions and advocacy at the community, country and global levels.

Before now, data on family planning are usually available every five years through countries’ demographic and health surveys, which has its credibility in doubt.

‘PMA2020 is making this data available every six months, which could change the game by enabling policymakers to make real-time decisions,’ said Selamawit Desta, programme officer of PMA2020 at Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health located at the US-based Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

“We are hopeful that we can attract investments that will allow the data collection platforms to continue to the year 2020 and beyond,” Desta said.

Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director and Under-Secretary-General at the United Nations, says that governments and all partners in reproductive health need to provide information and access to voluntary family planning to all people of reproductive age.

“This will enable both women and men to make informed decisions about their reproductive health and all individuals to protect themselves from infections,” he added.

Family planning is strongly recommended in developing countries as it helps families in managing their resources to cater to the wards they have; it is also important that a nation keeps track of its data on family planning in order to plan adequately for its population within the shared available resources.

Source: The SciDev.Net website.


Author: Dotun Obatuyi

My name is Dotun Obatuyi (Dotunoba), I hail from Osun state, a public health scientist (monitoring and evaluation specialist), my keen interests are researching, critiquing and writing feature articles on health, science and technology as well as issues around the globe.