A Woman on a Mission for Midwives

Putting a Life-Changing Tool in the Hands of Myanmar’s Frontline Health Workers.

A woman rides on the back of a motor bike between Chuang U and Amyint Village in Myanmar’s Sagain Region.

This is Su Su Htet, an area coordinator (AC) for the RMNCH Quality of Care Project (RMNCH QoC), a program implemented by JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc. (JSI), in partnership with the Myanmar Ministry of Health and Sports and UNICEF, to design and deploy a mobile phone tool to improve the quality of care midwives provide.

Su Su Htet arrives at one of the health centers she supports in her role as an area coordinator for JSI.

Su Su Htet is on her way to facilitate discussion on the CommCare mobile phone application with four to five midwives from Sagain Region. Designed by the RMNCH QoC team, CommCare allows midwives to track and support their clients in a range of healthcare services, including antenatal care, labor and delivery, newborn care, family planning, immunization, and nutrition.

JSI has been able to customize CommCare, an open-source mobile application, to meet midwives’ needs thanks to Su Su Htet and her fellow area coordinators.

The application serves as a job aid, providing immediate feedback and guidance to Myanmar’s frontline healthcare providers and ultimately improving their ability to make informed decisions while providing care.

Su Su is one of three ACs working for JSI who coordinate and support the roll-out of the CommCare mobile phone application to all midwives in Sagaing, Ayeryarwaddy, and Magway Regions.

These ACs serve as the link between JSI and the village-level health system. “We are closely working with the midwives, especially during monitoring visits to sub-centers for using CommCare,” Su Su comments. The ACs are critical to the success of the program, acting as JSI’s eyes and ears at the lowest level of the health system to ensure well-coordinated and effective program implementation, resulting in improved quality of care.

Today Su Su is meeting with the midwives in Amyint Village to gather feedback and ideas for improving the CommCare application. The midwives take turns showing her their mobile phones, discussing what components of CommCare they find helpful, confusing, unclear, or informative.

She is proud of the progress the midwives have made and the support network they have created for each other. “Some of the midwives are teaching each other,” Su Su says.

Through these discussions with midwives, Su Su understands the value of the CommCare application for midwives’ work. She sees the potential for the application to improve the health of Myanmar’s mothers and their families.

Su Su believes that the use of the application has strengthened the relationship between the midwives and their clients. “In using CommCare, the midwives have to ask all the questions and information about health. Before using CommCare, they couldn’t ask all the information. Now [patients] think that the midwives are more helpful to them … they give them time more than before.”

Eventually, more than 10,000 midwives will use the application in their daily work. The hard work of JSI’s ACs and the feedback they receive from midwives will ensure that the CommCare tool supports and strengthens the work of midwives.

Because of Su Su Htet and her fellow ACs, the RMNCH QoC program is successfully equipping Myanmar’s midwives with skills to use CommCare in supporting the provision of high quality care to mothers and their children. As a result, the program is empowering frontline healthcare providers in communities to feel ownership over the care they provide and work to keep families healthy – for today and in the years to come.