The TiPToP malaria in pregnancy project of Jhpiego and Unitaid has been adjusting to the COVID-19 pandemic. Their abstract below is being presented at the 2021 American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Annual Meeting and explains the use of bulk SMS to support health worker knowledge retention on antenatal care and the use of intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy during COVID-19 in Bosso local government area of Niger State, Nigeria. See Author List below.

In light of COVID-19 travel restrictions, bulk SMS were used to support knowledge retention of health workers following an in-person training held before the pandemic. In December 2019, 72 facility health workers and 260 community health workers (CHWs) in Bosso local government area of Niger State, Nigeria participated in a 12-day training about benefits of early antenatal care (ANC) attendance, CHW referrals to ANC, and use of intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy (IPTp) with sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine to prevent malaria.

In-person supervision visits were conducted 3 months following training, although three months later in-person supervision was no longer possible due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions. Post-training support transitioned to use of bulk SMS which were sent twice a week to each cadre for two 3-month rounds of messaging.

Knowledge tests comprised of 10 multiple choice questions linked to key ANC and IPTp guidelines were administered at 5 time points: 1) baseline; 2) post-training; 3) at in-person supervision visit 3 months after training; 4) after first round of bulk SMS (6 months post-training); and 5) after second round of bulk SMS (9 months post-training).

Average test scores for each cadre were calculated at each time point and T-tests were used to assess differences in scores. The results show that facility health workers scored an average of 53% on the pre-test followed by scores of 76%, 74%, 86%, and ending at 80% 9 months following training. CHWs started with an average score of 49% which increased to 67% post-training; subsequent average scores were 83%, 74%, and 94%.

Results were compelling with facility health worker knowledge improving from 76% immediately post-training to 80% 9 months later (p-value<0.05) and for CHWs the improvement was from 67% to 94% (p-value<0.05). These findings suggest that use of SMS can support knowledge retention of key ANC and IPTp guidelines following an in-person training. Program managers, trainers and supervisors may consider using this approach to support health workers where resources and/or movement are restricted.


Charity Anoke 1, Orji Bright 1, Joseph Enne 1, Bartholomew Odio 1, Christina Maly 2, Amina Zimro 3, Ibrahim Idris 3, Elizabeth Njoku 1, Oniyire Adetiloye 1, Emmanuel Dipo Otolorin 1, Elaine Roman 2  — 1Jhpiego, Abuja, Nigeria, 2Jhpiego, Baltimore, MD, United States, 3Niger State Ministry of Health, Minna, Nigeria