Sema Nasi: Real-time Feedback for Quality Improvement in Family Planning Services in Tanzania

Ensuring the quality of family planning services is an essential component of effective service delivery. Increased attention to quality assurance services has heightened demand for innovative, low-cost methods to evaluate quality and provide feedback to both facilities and providers. Mobile technology, such as the use of text messaging on mobile phones, is increasingly being used in this way to improve the quality of health care services in settings around the world.

Mobile phones are relatively inexpensive, portable, and accessible, and they offer clients privacy and anonymity in providing honest feedback. Mobile phones also offer a unique opportunity to survey clients about their health care experiences, as clients can answer such surveys on their own time. Mobile data collection also reduces cost, allows for more rapid data collection, and makes data available for viewing and analysis in real-time.

Building on this premise, FHI 360 collaborated with BongoLive (a mobile services technology company in Dar es Salaam) to develop and test a mobile phone-based system called Sema Nasi, which is Kiswahili for “Talk to Us.” The system surveys clients about the quality of family planning services they receive from health facilities, and this feedback is shared with the health facilities to improve their accountability for providing high-quality care.