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Digital solutions & Menstrual Health: Enhancing Your Outreach

Updated: Jun 26, 2023

In Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs), acquiring access to products and health services can often be a hurdle. The key to overcoming this lies in leveraging digital solutions to ensure sustainability.


When it comes to addressing menstrual health, digital tools can play an influential role, empowering you to :

1. Educate individuals about menstrual health and the usage of reusable menstrual products

2. Train teams on effectively discussing menstrual health with beneficiaries

3. Promote self-care and prevention through the provision of high-quality health information

4. Improve health providers' knowledge regarding menstrual health

5. Increase awareness surrounding menstrual health


The choice of solution can be tailored and implemented based on the specific context. Here are a few suggested solutions:


A mobile application


Mobile apps are an exceptional tool to maintain engagement with your beneficiaries. Apps that have been intelligently developed, focusing on menstrual cycles and menstruation, are widely adopted. A couple of things to bear in mind include:

  • App size: While the use of smartphones is pervasive and growing daily, most users prefer to save their storage for personal content like photos rather than installing apps. To enhance the likelihood of your app being downloaded and actively used, ensure it doesn't exceed 5.5MB.

  • Content: Features and content developed with the user in mind have a higher probability of long-term usage. If you're looking for inspiration, consider the excellent work being done by Oky in this field.

A dedicated website


Websites, however, require a data connection. If your target audience lacks easy and affordable internet access, you may need to budget for their data expenses to guarantee they can connect.

For instance, when we launched 'Just My Period' on Facebook and its dedicated chatbot in October 2020, we also debuted a more detailed website. Despite multiple references, the website only drew 50 visitors compared to the 6,000 users on the chatbot during the same period. We also observed minimal engagement with our YouTube videos. This leads us to another solution: chatbots.


A Chatbot


A chatbot is a computer program designed to simulate human conversation, allowing thousands of simultaneous interactions at a fraction of the cost of in-person discussions. They can be deployed on platforms like Messenger, WhatsApp, and SMS. Highly customizable and easy to update, chatbots provide real-time user insights and generate reports on user numbers, locations, and needs.

We are currently using chatbots to communicate with beneficiaries who have received our products, offering them information on menstruation, menstrual cycles, and product usage.


Eima, chatbot, menstruation,
Meet Eima !



SMS


If you're considering a two-way communication system, SMS could be your ideal solution. It's a cost-effective method to engage with your beneficiaries, allowing nationwide deployment at no cost to the users. However, its capabilities are limited to sending 160 characters per message.


Whatsapp groups


Organizations are increasingly creating WhatsApp groups to discuss specific subjects with their beneficiaries, and this is a fantastic idea! A tip to enhance the impact of this platform is to integrate a chatbot into WhatsApp. This allows for personalized discussions, referrals to healthcare facilities, or in-person discussions at reduced costs.

TIP : Integrate a chatbot into WhatsApp! The impact of this platform will be increased by allowing a personalized discussion and redirection to health care facilities or allow in-person discussions at a reduced cost

USSD


This is the best option to communicate with beneficiaries that would not have access to internet, nor data. This is easy to implement and allow the organization to bear the full cost of communication. Beware that this solution is limited by the amount of interaction you can have with your users i.e., only 160 characters per message sent. The communication length can also be limited due to the connection time to the USDD platform.



Other options could have also been mentioned here like stock management or training of health workers. Using digital tools has never been so easy. The possibilities are endless.








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