The 4MOTHERS trial of the impact of a mobile money-based intervention on maternal and neonatal health outcomes in Madagascar: study protocol of a cluster-randomized hybrid effectiveness-implementation trial

Mobile money—a service enabling users to receive, store, and send electronic money using mobile phones—has been widely adopted across low- and middle-income economies to pay for a variety of services, including healthcare. However, evidence on its effects on healthcare access and health outcomes are scarce and the possible implications of using mobile money for financing and payment of maternal healthcare services—which generally require large one-time out-of-pocket payments—have not yet been systematically assessed in low-resource settings. The aim of this study is to determine the impact on health outcomes, cost-effectiveness, feasibility, acceptability, and usefulness of mobile phone-based savings and payment service, the Mobile Maternal Health Wallet (MMHW), for skilled healthcare during pregnancy and delivery among women in Madagascar.

This is a hybrid effectiveness-implementation type-1 trial, determining the effectiveness of the intervention while evaluating the context of its implementation in Madagascar’s Analamanga region, containing the capital, Antananarivo. Using a stratified cluster randomized design, 61 public-sector primary-care health facilities were randomized within 6 strata to either receive the intervention or not (29 intervention vs. 32 control facilities). The strata were defined by a health facility’s antenatal care visit volume and its capacity to offer facility-based deliveries. The registered pre-specified primary outcomes are (i) delivery at a health facility, (ii) antenatal care visits, and (iii) total healthcare expenditure during pregnancy, delivery, and neonatal period. The registered pre-specified secondary outcomes include additional health outcomes, economic outcomes, and measurements of user experience and satisfaction. Our estimated enrolment number is 4600 women, who completed their pregnancy between July 1, 2020, and December 31, 2021. A series of nested mixed-methods studies will elucidate client and provider perceptions on feasibility, acceptability, and usefulness of the intervention to inform future implementation efforts.

A cluster-randomized, hybrid effectiveness-implementation design allows for a robust approach to determine whether the MMHW is a feasible and beneficial intervention in a resource-restricted public healthcare environment. We expect the results of our study to guide future initiatives and health policy decisions related to maternal and neonatal health and universal healthcare coverage through technology in Madagascar and other countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Trial registration
This trial was registered on March 12, 2021: Deutsches Register Klinischer Studien (German Clinical Trials Register), identifier: DRKS00014928. For World Health Organization Trial Registration Data Set see Additional file 1.

Maternal and perinatal adverse outcomes in women with pre-eclampsia cared for at facility-level in South Africa: a prospective cohort study.

Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy contribute to 14% of all maternal deaths, the majority of which occur in low- and middle-income countries. The aim of the study was to describe the maternal and perinatal clinical outcomes of women with pre-eclampsia living in middle- and low-income countries.The study was a prospective observational study of women with pre-eclampsia (n = 1547, 42 twin pregnancies) at three South African tertiary facilities. Using stepwise logistic regression model area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) values, the association between maternal baseline and admission characteristics and risk of adverse outcomes was evaluated. Main outcome measures were eclampsia, kidney injury and perinatal death.In 1547 women with pre-eclampsia, 16 (1%) died, 147 (9.5%) had eclampsia, four (0.3%) had a stroke and 272 (17.6%) had kidney injury. Of the 1589 births, there were 332 (21.0%) perinatal deaths; of these, 281 (84.5%) were stillbirths. Of 1308 live births, 913 (70.0%) delivered <37 completed weeks and 544 (41.7%) delivered <34 weeks' gestation. Young maternal age (AUROC = 0.76, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.71-0.80) and low Body Mass Index BMI (AUROC 0.65, 95% CI = 0.59-0.69) were significant predictors of eclampsia. Highest systolic blood pressure had the strongest association with kidney injury, (AUROC = 0.64, 95% CI = 0.60-0.68). Early gestation at admission was most strongly associated with perinatal death (AUROC = 0.81, 95% CI = 0.77-0.84).The incidence of pre-eclampsia complications, perinatal death and preterm delivery in women referred to tertiary care in South Africa was much higher than reported in other low- and middle-income studies and despite access to tertiary care interventions. Teenage mothers and those with low BMI were at highest risk of eclampsia. This information could be used to inform guidelines, the research agenda and policy.