Mobile health applications for improving access to and information about safe abortion
Awarded 2013
Junior Investigator Grants
Caitlin Gerdts, PhD, MHS
University of California, San Francisco

Globally, 90 million unintended pregnancies occur each year, half of which end in abortion. The majority of all abortions in developing countries are performed in unsafe or illegal conditions, the consequences of which can be severe—including infection, infertility, and death. In Indonesia abortions are permitted only to save a woman’s life or to preserve a woman’s health. This grant mHealth for safe abortion in Indonesia supported formative research in the Indonesian context for the first smartphone application for safe abortion, and the development of a paper-based prototype of the app. After two rounds of qualitative interviews, the smartphone application will now include avatar guided instructions on proper dosage and administration of medical abortion, photographs of locally branded generic misoprostol and mifepristone a gestational age calculator, a calendar for women to track symptoms, information about normal side-effects, information and instructions about when to seek care, and other sexual and reproductive health information–features which have the potential to save women’s lives. This grant has also allowed Dr. Caitlin Gerdts to develop a robust area of her research portfolio that focuses on mobile health interventions for safe abortion. She has, in addition, successfully secured funding for the advancement of this project, which, if successful, this smartphone application has the potential to mitigate the effects of unsafe abortion for women in Indonesia.