Article by: Emmy Duerr

At the DGRH Think Global Talk on October 15, Jacob Stocks presented his work on the mSaada mobile application platform. Prior to his pilot study, Stocks developed mSaada (meaning “support” in Swahili), an application designed to be a support tool for community-based cervical cancer screening for low-income communities. The app was intended to provide counseling/decision support for community health volunteers as well as patient and specimen tracking to better ensure follow up and patient retention.

Stocks implemented a small (n = 19) 5-week pilot study in Migori and Kisumu between July and August of 2019. The pilot study consisted of six iterative feedback sessions with the goal of refining the mSaada platform. The first week of the study involved three group sessions with four participants in each session, using a mixed methods approach of a combination of qualitative in-depth interviews and quantitative usability surveys. Weeks 2-4 provided app developers time for feedback integration, and allowed them to implement the following suggestions arisen from the group sessions:
● Organization of tabs in the chronological order of a typical visit (development shown in image)
● Reducing difficulty in accessing “question” features of application
● Further consideration of appropriateness of self-collection images according to whether
the app was used in rural or urban settings
● Translation of information from English to local languages to eliminate the possibility of translation confusion between CHV and patient
● Implementation of a variety of notification methods with consideration of HPV positive vs. HPV negative results

During the final week, the group session format of week one was repeated with a mix of first-time and repeat users. Overall, the feedback integration highlighted the need for reliable and stable solutions for both app programming and backend storage. mSaada has serious potential to change the landscape of cervical cancer diagnosis and treatment in LMICs, and its revised effectiveness will be determined from a real-time screening pilot that is currently transpiring.

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