Can Mobile Phone Messages to Licensed Chemical Sellers Increase Prescription of Zinc? – A Randomized Controlled Trial in Ghana

Minki Chatterji, Abt Associates
Willa Friedman, University of California, Berkeley
Ben Woodman, Abt Associates
Odartei Lamptey, Abt Associates

Zinc sulfate and oral rehydration solution (ORS) are the standard of care for the treatment of acute diarrhea in children under five. However, costly and unnecessary treatments are often prescribed instead. This study uses a randomized control trial (RCT) to evaluate a program to encourage prescription of zinc and ORS among licensed chemical sellers (LCSs) in Ghana. The intervention uses mobile phone text messages (SMS) provided to LCSs. The sample for the evaluation includes 911 LCS facilities, randomly assigned to treatment and control groups, stratifying by district. The SMS intervention consisted of eight informational messages and nine interactive quizzes over an eight week period. As part of our findings, we measure the impact of the SMS mobile phone text messages on knowledge, attitudes, and prescription behavior regarding zinc and ORS among LCSs. Knowledge and attitudes are assessed through face-to-face interviews, while prescription behavior is evaluated by mystery-client visits.

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Presented in Session 140: Randomized Controlled Trials and Field Experiments in Population and Development