A quasi-experimental study on exploring the use of mobile phone technology for optimizing, tracking and responding to children's developmental progress in Korogocho, Nairobi, Kenya: study protocol

Patricia Kitsao Wekulo, Margaret Nampijja, Domnick O. Okullo, Kenneth O. Okelo, Milka Njeri, Silas Onyango, Elizabeth Kimani Murage

Abstract

Background: The massive use of technology can be leveraged to facilitate access to growth and development programs for children. Existing programs supporting such initiatives for children younger than three years are inadequate and not accessible to most families. In most cases, primary caregivers are unable to identify delayed milestones in their children’s growth and development due to inadequate information. They therefore often report the cases when they have become very severe and difficult to reverse. In order to promote early identification of possible developmental delays, African Population and Health Research Center together with Val Partners will develop, implement and evaluate the use of mobile phone technology to help caregivers track their children's developmental outcomes.

Methods: The study will employ a quasi-experimental design and will use a mixed-methods approach combining quantitative and qualitative methodologies. In one arm, 110 caregivers will be trained on the use of a mobile phone application to assess child growth and development. The other arm, with 110 caregivers, will receive standard care provided by community health volunteers. Child developmental outcomes will be assessed in both arms. Feasibility of the intervention will be assessed qualitatively. Performance data will be compared across the two arms using mixed linear models to assess the effect of the intervention on child development.

Conclusions: The findings are expected to provide evidence on whether the intervention is feasible and has an effect on child developmental outcomes. The results will inform the scalability and sustainability of the project.

Trial Registration: The trial has been registered with the Pan African Clinical Trial Registry (www.pactr.org) database (ID number: PACTR201905787868050).

Keywords

Child developmental outcomes, Mobile phone technology, Monitoring, Feasibility

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References

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