An mHealth voice messaging intervention to improve infant and young child feeding practices in Senegal

Shauna M. Downs, Joachim Sackey, Jozefina Kalaj, Stephen Smith, Jessica Fanzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Mobile health (mHealth) interventions have the potential to improve infant and young child feeding (IYCF) practices; however, gaps in the literature remain regarding their design, implementation, and effectiveness. The aims of this study were to design an mHealth voice messaging intervention delivered to mothers and fathers targeting IYCF practices and examine its implementation and impact in households with children 6–23 months in three rural villages in Senegal. We conducted focus groups (n = 6) to inform the intervention development. We then conducted a pilot study (n = 47 households) to examine the impact of the intervention on IYCF practices of children 6–23 months. Voice messages were sent to the children's mothers and fathers over a period of 4 weeks (two messages per week; eight messages in total), and 24-hr dietary recalls and food frequency questionnaires (FFQs) were conducted before and immediately after the implementation of the mHealth intervention to examine its impact on IYCF practices. Overall, three of the eight behaviours increased and one decreased. There was a significant increase in the number of children that consumed fish (60% vs. 94%; p =.008) as measured by the 24-hr recall after the completion of the intervention. We also found significantly higher frequency of egg (p =.026), fish (p =.004), and thick porridge (p =.002) consumption in the previous 7 days measured by the FFQ. Our findings suggest that voice messaging IYCF interventions in Senegal have the potential to improve IYCF behaviours among young children in the short term. Future research should entail scaling-up the intervention and examining its sustainability over the long-term.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12825
JournalMaternal and Child Nutrition
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


  • behaviour change communication
  • infant and young child feeding
  • mHealth


Dive into the research topics of 'An mHealth voice messaging intervention to improve infant and young child feeding practices in Senegal'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this