Healthcare workers' and pregnant women's perceptions of digital tools to improve antenatal care

S. van Pelt*, K. Massar, L. van der Eem, M. van der Pijl, L. Shields-Zeeman, J. B. F. de Wit, R. A. C. Ruiter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference Abstract/Poster in journalAcademic


To reduce maternal mortality in rural Tanzania, the need to improve antenatal care remains an urgent priority. Digital health tools are seen as a promising instrument to increase the quality of healthcare in developing countries, but it remains unclear to what extent they are perceived as beneficial during the antenatal care visit. Therefore, the aim of this research was to identify factors that could improve the quality of antenatal care in rural Tanzania, and whether digital health tools would change healthcare workers' and pregnant women's perceptions of quality of care. Methods Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with sixteen healthcare workers and nineteen pregnant women, recruited from various health facilities in Magu District, Tanzania. Results Both healthcare workers and pregnant women possess a positive attitude towards antenatal care and acknowledge its importance. However, they also expressed a need for (structural) improvements in antenatal care services, particularly increased availability of diagnostic tests, and increased performance and motivation of healthcare workers. In addition, healthcare workers indicated a need for more training and better supervision. While both groups expected quality of care to increase should a digital health tool be implemented, they placed more focus on investing in health infrastructure, like the availability of medication and other materials, than investments in digital health. Conclusions Infrastructural improvements, including better communication between healthcare workers and pregnant women, as well as training opportunities and supportive leadership, are necessary before a digital health tool can be expected to increase the quality of antenatal care. Key messages Both healthcare workers and pregnant women acknowledged the need for higher quality antenatal care. Both groups suggested a number of infrastructural improvements, among which the use of a digital health tool.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)v333-v333
Number of pages1
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Issue numberS5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020

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