Using cell phones to collect postpartum hemorrhage outcome data in rural Ghana

Pamela Andreatta, Domatilla Debpuur, Abraham Danquah, Joseph Perosky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate the use of cell phones by professional and traditional birth attendants in rural Africa for reporting postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) data. Methods: Ten birth attendants from the remote Sene District of Ghana participated in the study. Subjects were trained to send Short Message Service text messages from cell phones using a simple numeric protocol to report data regarding PPH: maternal age; PPH; use of bimanual uterine compression; maternal and neonatal mortality; and prenatal care. Participants sent texts to a pre-programmed number to report data for all births they attended over a 90-day period. Results: In total, 425 births and 13 (3.1%) cases of PPH were reported during the 90-day period after training. All attendants followed the reporting protocol correctly, although with uncertain data integrity. Conclusion: The results indicate that it is possible to train professional and traditional birth attendants to use cell phones to report health-related outcome data via a specified protocol. Reporting from rural-based providers may present a more accurate picture of what occurs in remote communities because it happens in real time. These findings could be exportable to other program evaluation or population-monitoring applications (healthcare and other) where rural outcome tracking is necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-151
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as part of The Ghana–Michigan Collaborative Health Alliance for Reshaping Training, Education and Research (CHARTER), the Departments of Medical Education and Obstetrics & Gynecology at the University of Michigan, Sene District Hospital, and the Ghanaian Ministry of Health/Ghana Health Service.


  • Cell phones
  • Field research
  • Health services networks
  • Information and communication technologies
  • M-health
  • Rural health


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