Adolescent/Youth Reproductive Mobile Access and Delivery Initiative for Love and Life Outcomes (ARMADILLO) Study: formative protocol for mHealth platform development and piloting

Reprod Health. 2015 Aug 7:12:67. doi: 10.1186/s12978-015-0059-y.


Background: There is a high unmet need for sexual and reproductive health (SRH) information and services among youth (ages 15-24) worldwide (MacQuarrie KLD. Unmet Need for Family Planning among Young Women: Levels and Trends 2014). With the proliferation of mobile technology, and its popularity with this age group, mobile phones offer a novel and accessible platform for a discreet, on-demand service providing SRH information. The Adolescent/Youth Reproductive Mobile Access and Delivery Initiative for Love and Life Outcomes (ARMADILLO) formative study will inform the development of an intervention, which will use the popular channel of SMS (text messages) to deliver SRH information on-demand to youth.

Methods/design: Following the development of potential SMS message content in partnership with SRH technical experts and youth, formative research activities will take place over two phases. Phase 1 will use focus group discussions (FGDs) with youth and parents/caregivers to develop and test the appropriateness and acceptability of the SMS messages. Phase 2 will consist of 'peer piloting', where youth participants will complete an SRH outcome-focused pretest, be introduced to the system and then have three weeks to interact with the system and share it with friends. Participants will then return to complete the SRH post-test and participate in an in-depth interview about their own and their peers' opinions and experiences using ARMADILLO.

Discussion: The ARMADILLO formative stage will culminate in the finalization of country-specific ARMADILLO messaging. Reach and impact of ARMADILLO will be measured at later stages. We anticipate that the complete ARMADILLO platform will be scalable, with the potential for national-level adoption.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cell Phone
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mobile Applications*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Program Development
  • Reproductive Health / education*
  • Research Design
  • Text Messaging
  • Young Adult