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Contextual factors affecting the implementation of an anemia focused virtual counseling intervention for pregnant women in plains Nepal: a mixed methods process evaluation

Bhattarai, Sanju; Yadav, Samata Kumari; Thapaliya, Bibhu; Giri, Santosh; Bhattarai, Basudev; Sapkota, Suprich; Manandhar, Shraddha; ... Morrison, Joanna; + view all (2023) Contextual factors affecting the implementation of an anemia focused virtual counseling intervention for pregnant women in plains Nepal: a mixed methods process evaluation. BMC Public Health , 23 , Article 1301. 10.1186/s12889-023-16195-5. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: Anemia is estimated to cause 115,000 maternal deaths each year. In Nepal, 46% of pregnant women have anemia. As part of an integrated anemia-prevention strategy, family engagement and counseling of pregnant women can increase compliance to iron folic acid tablets, but marginalized women often have lower access to these interventions. We implemented the VALID (Virtual antenatal intervention for improved diet and iron intake) randomized controlled trial to test a family-focused virtual counseling mHealth intervention designed to inclusively increase iron folic acid compliance in rural Nepal; here we report findings from our process evaluation research. // Methods: We conducted semi structured interviews with 20 pregnant women who had received the intervention, eight husbands, seven mothers-in-laws and four health workers. We did four focus groups discussions with intervention implementers, 39 observations of counseling, and used routine monitoring data in our evaluation. We used inductive and deductive analysis of qualitative data, and descriptive statistics of monitoring data. // Results: We were able to implement the intervention largely as planned and all participants liked the dialogical counseling approach and use of story-telling to trigger conversation. However, an unreliable and inaccessible mobile network impeded training families about how to use the mobile device, arrange the counseling time, and conduct the counseling. Women were not equally confident using mobile devices, and the need to frequently visit households to troubleshoot negated the virtual nature of the intervention for some. Women’s lack of agency restricted both their ability to speak freely and their mobility, which meant that some women were unable to move to areas with better mobile reception. It was difficult for some women to schedule the counseling, as there were competing demands on their time. Family members were difficult to engage because they were often working outside the home; the small screen made it difficult to interact, and some women were uncomfortable speaking in front of family members. // Conclusions: It is important to understand gender norms, mobile access, and mobile literacy before implementing an mHealth intervention. The contextual barriers to implementation meant that we were not able to engage family members as much as we had hoped, and we were not able to minimize in-person contact with families. We recommend a flexible approach to mHealth interventions which can be responsive to local context and the situation of participants. Home visits may be more effective for those women who are most marginalized, lack confidence in using a mobile device, and where internet access is poor.

Type: Article
Title: Contextual factors affecting the implementation of an anemia focused virtual counseling intervention for pregnant women in plains Nepal: a mixed methods process evaluation
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s12889-023-16195-5
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-023-16195-5
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Keywords: Anemia, Nutrition, Pregnancy, Nepal, mHealth, Antenatal, Iron and folic acid, Virtual
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health > Infection and Population Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10173324
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