Effect of mentorship and a mHealth application in updating provider skills and knowledge in maternal and newborn care in two informal settlements of Nairobi

Document Type

Article (peer-reviewed)

Publication Date



Background: Children and women in urban informal settlements have fewer choices to access quality maternal and newborn health care. Many facilities serving these communities are under-resourced and staffed by fewer providers with limited access to skills updates. We sought to increase provider capacity by equipping them with skills to provide general and emergency obstetric and newborn care in 24 facilities serving two informal settlements in Nairobi. We present evidence of the combined effect of mentorship using facility-based mentors who demonstrate skills, support skills drills training, and provide practical feedback to mentees and a self-guided online learning platform with easily accessible EmONC information on providers’ smart phones. Methods: We used mixed methods research with before and after cross-sectional provider surveys conducted at baseline and end line. During end line, 18 in-depth interviews were conducted with mentors and mentees who were exposed, and providers not exposed to the intervention to explore effectiveness and experience of the intervention on quality maternal health services. Results: Results illustrated marked improvement from ability to identify antepartum hemorrhage (APH), postpartum hemorrhage (PPH), manage retained placenta, ability to identify and manage obstructed labour, Pre-Eclampsia and Eclampsia (PE/E), puerperal sepsis, and actions taken to manage conditions when they present. Overall, out of 95 elements examined there were statistically significant improvements of both individual scores and overall scores from 29/95 at baseline (30.5%) to 44.3/95 (46.6%) during end line representing a 16- percentage point increase (p > 0.001). These improvements were evident in public health facilities representing a 17.3% point increase (from 30.9% at baseline to 48.2% at end line, p > 0.001). Similarly, providers working in private facilities exhibited a 15.8% point increase in knowledge from 29.7% at baseline to 45.5% at end line (p = 0.0001). Conclusion: This study adds to the literature on building capacity of providers delivering Maternal and Newborn Health (MNH) services to women in informal settlements. The complex challenges of delivering MNH services in informal urban settings where communities have limited access require a comprehensive approach including ensuring access to supplies and basic equipment. Nevertheless, the combined effects of the self-guided online platform and mentorship reinforces EmONC knowledge and skills. This combined approach is more likely to improve provider competency, and skills as well as improving maternal and newborn health outcomes.


Related dataset