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Table 2 Characteristics of selected studies

From: Influence of mhealth interventions on gender relations in developing countries: a systematic literature review

Author(s) Journal [ Health area] MHealth intervention Country Study’s primary objective Design Sample Findings on gender relations
(1) Akinfaderin-Agarau et al.[35] Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS: Nigeria To determine reasons for significantly low uptake among young women Single group, posttest design using mixed methods 726 users Non-Transformative: Participation in mHealth intervention hindered by gender-based expectations of women, including fear of spousal distrust and invasions of privacy.
Users submitted questions via SMS and received accurate and confidential sexual health and HIV/AIDS information
African Journal of Reproductive Health
(2) Balasubramanian et al.[36] Microenterprise: Illiterate and semi-literate women received daily mobile phone audio messages on business strategies for a goat-rearing enterprise, along with maternal and child health information, linked with reduced network call-rates India To examine effects of mobile phones as a tool for enterprise and learning on women’s social standing Single group, posttest design using mixed methods 73 program participants Transformative and Non-Transformative: Ownership of new technology raises status of women within household, but creates some tensions regarding use. In some cases, perpetuated male hierarchies and dependence.
Distance Education
(3) Chib et al.[37] HIV/AIDS: Uganda To assess mobile participation rates and HIV/AIDS-related knowledge Single group, posttest design using mobile quiz response data 2,363 mobile quiz takers Non-Transformative: Two-fold higher response rates among men than women. Authors consider technology use reflected and further entrenched gender inequities.
Users enhanced HIV/AIDS knowledge and awareness by answering SMS-based multiple choice quizzes with free HIV counseling and testing referrals and related prizes
Journal of Health Communication: International Perspectives
(4) Corker[38] Reproductive Health: Congo To determine hotline intervention’s reach and participation among men and women Single group, posttest design using call data 20,036 calls Transformative and Non-Transformative: New means of engaging men and potentially increasing partner communication, but reflected and reinforced existing power differentials and mobile divide.
Cases in Public Health Communication & Marketing Couples used toll-free hotline to obtain confidential family planning information and referrals to family planning clinics and pharmacies
(5) Misraghosh et al.[40] Microenterprise: India To examine effects of mobile retail business on women’s empowerment Single group, pre-/posttest design using mixed methods 50 women mobile distributors Transformative (Positive/Negative): Strengthened women’s earning and decision-making power. Also shifted men's role as predominate breadwinner, resulting in some tensions and abuse.
Women entrepreneurs sold and distributed mobile phone products to other women with health-added services and mobile phone literacy training
GSMA mWomen Programme
(6) L’Engle et al.[39] Reproductive Health: Tanzania To evaluate mHealth intervention’s feasibility, reach, and effect on contraception use Single group, posttest design using mobile queries and questionnaire 1,142 phone query users Transformative:
Users opted-into an interactive and menu-based SMS portal that provided automated information about family planning methods. Created new channel for male engagement and potential increased couple’s communication on family planning.
(7) Odigie et al.[41] Cancer: Nigeria To determine platform effectiveness to improve communication and patient follow-up rates Single group, posttest design using structured in-person interviews 1,160 oncology patients Transformative and Non-Transformative: New communication mode for women circumvents spousal dependence and permission. Yet, men make calls on behalf of women to sustain decision-making roles.
Patients received SMS cancer treatment reminders and were invited to utilize a call-hotline to talk to registered physicians/health providers about cancer-related health concerns and psycho-social support.