Sexual and reproductive health and rights and mHealth in policy and practice in South Africa

Abstract

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) offers enormous opportunity and innovation to improve public health and health systems. This paper explores the intersections between mHealth and sexual and reproductive health and rights in both policy and practice. It is a qualitative study, informed by policy review and key informant interviews. Three case studies provide evidence of what is happening on the ground in relation to ICTs and reproductive health and rights. We argue that in terms of policy, there is little overlap between health rights and communication technology. In the area of practice, however, significant interventions address aspects of reproductive health. At present, the extent to which mHealth addresses the full range of reproductive justice and sexual and reproductive health and rights is limited, particularly in terms of government initiatives. The paper argues that mHealth projects tend to avoid contentious aspects of sexual health, while addressing favourable topics such as pregnancy and motherhood. The ways in which information is framed in mHealth mirrors current gaps within sexual and reproductive health and rights, where a limited and conservative lens predominates, and which may result in narrow programming and implementation of services.

Citation

Waldman, L.; Stevens, M. Sexual and reproductive health and rights and mHealth in policy and practice in South Africa. Reproductive Health Matters (2015) 23 (45) 93-102. [DOI: 10.1016/j.rhm.2015.06.009]

Sexual and reproductive health and rights and mHealth in policy and practice in South Africa

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