Pascal Ouédraogo works for a local partner of Enfants du Monde, Burkinabé NGO, which works for the implementation of our health program for pregnant women and babies. He tells us about his role and the My Baby and Me mobile application developed to inform pregnant women about pregnancy, childbirth and COVID-19.

Can you introduce yourself?

I work as a program officer for IPC/BF (Private and Community Initiative for Health and the Response to HIV/AIDS in Burkina Faso). Therefore, my role is to ensure the implementation of the Enfants du Monde program in 4 health districts where the program is concentrated, by planning actions for example.
I am a nurse by basic training and I did a Master's degree in reproductive health and in maternal and child health in Burkina Faso.
I first worked at the local level, then at the regional level and finally at the central level in the technical direction of the quality of care of the Ministry of Health of Burkina Faso.
When I got to know the Enfants du Monde health program, I was working in the coordination office for specific group interventions for vulnerable people with specific needs such as women and children.Pascal Ouedraougo Santé Burkina Faso

More specifically, what does your job consist of?

I am responsible for coordinating program activities.
I participate in the organization of Participatory Community Diagnoses (collection of community needs by organizing discussion groups with women, men, community leaders and health center managers).
I meet beneficiaries in the field when monitoring actions, twice a year in partnership with the Ministry of Health and the Enfants du Monde team.
When necessary, I have to provide my support, for example providing support for the training of nursing staff. I go to the field 2,3, or 4 days to make sure that the planned actions are carried out.
I often talk to other partner organizations about the Enfants du Monde health program.

What is the role of IPC in the development of the mobile application "My baby and me"?

IPC worked in tandem with Enfants du Monde in order to, define the content of the application, discuss with the Ministry of Health for its validation and organize a pre-test. We took into account the comments of pregnant women on the application. We went to the health centers to train healthcare staff on how to use the application.

How was the application acknowledged?

The application has been very well received by the nursing staff. It is a valuable communication tool for them, much easier than carrying around 50 pages from an image box. The content gives the staff a support that allows them to discuss with pregnant women, and also allows them to improve their knowledge.
The only problem encountered is the transfer to the phone which takes time. Indeed, the application must be transmitted to future mothers who come to their prenatal consultation. But the midwife who sees the pregnant woman has a lot to do and the Bluetooth transfer takes time, so while the application is loading, she has to take care of the other women who are waiting.
In addition, some women do not have phones with sufficient storage capacity to download the application, although it is light. It is then necessary to add a memory card to increase its capacity.
To circumvent these difficulties, health centers have had the idea of broadcasting audio messages from the application in the waiting room (initially intended for those who cannot read), this allows pregnant women to listen to them.

What does Mon Bébé et moi bring to pregnant women?

The application is mainly used to strengthen women's knowledge about their pregnancy and also about respect for their rights vis-à-vis medical personnel.
If a woman reads all the information in the application, she will be well educated on health – it's like a training – I have no doubt it will increase the knowledge of those who use it!Femmes Burkina Faso Application Mon bébé et moi

Have you had direct testimonials of the use of the application?

In a quick field survey, we did with the women, one told me that everyone in her family wanted to see the application. In addition to the women themselves, the whole community is interested.
As far as caregivers are concerned, there is knowledge about pregnancy and childbirth that they did not master – they now find that by using the application we go beyond the information that should be given to women. In particular the question on the rights of patients in relation to medical personnel. This can create problems with health services that do not respect women's rights.

And in times of COVID, this application is particularly important ?

Because of COVID, bringing together 20 or 30 women for information sessions on maternal health was no longer possible. We couldn't sit idly by and so the app was an innovative and very important solution.

What do you prefer in your job?

I like the dialogue with the heads of the health districts and also the work in the field, being in direct contact with the people who provide the care: nurses, midwives, doctors...