Development of an intervention delivered by mobile phone aimed at decreasing unintended pregnancy among young people in three lower middle income countries

BMC Public Health. 2018 May 2;18(1):576. doi: 10.1186/s12889-018-5477-7.


Background: Unintended pregnancies can result in poorer health outcomes for women, children and families. Young people in low and middle income countries are at particular risk of unintended pregnancies and could benefit from innovative contraceptive interventions. There is growing evidence that interventions delivered by mobile phone can be effective in improving a range of health behaviours. This paper describes the development of a contraceptive behavioural intervention delivered by mobile phone for young people in Tajikistan, Bolivia and Palestine, where unmet need for contraception is high among this group.

Methods: Guided by Intervention Mapping, the following steps contributed to the development of the interventions: (1) needs assessment; (2) specifying behavioural change to result from the intervention; (3) selecting behaviour change methods to include in the intervention; (4) producing and refining the intervention content.

Results: The results of the needs assessment produced similar interventions across the countries. The interventions consist of short daily messages delivered over 4 months (delivered by text messaging in Palestine and mobile phone application instant messages in Bolivia and Tajikistan). The messages provide information about contraception, target attitudes that are barriers to contraceptive uptake and support young people in feeling that they can influence their reproductive health. The interventions each contain the same ten behaviour change methods, adapted for delivery by mobile phone.

Conclusions: The development resulted in a well-specified, theory-based intervention, tailored to each country. It is feasible to develop an intervention delivered by mobile phone for young people in resource-limited settings.

Keywords: Bolivia; Contraception; Family planning; Intervention development; Intervention mapping; Palestine; Tajikistan; mHealth.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bolivia
  • Cell Phone*
  • Contraception / psychology*
  • Contraception / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle East
  • Needs Assessment
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Unplanned*
  • Program Development
  • Tajikistan
  • Young Adult