SMS for Health: An acceptability trial of SMS to deliver adolescent sexual and reproductive health and anti-smoking messages to young people in Indonesia

Information communication technology (ICT), including mobile phones, portable computing devices and Web 2.0 applications such as social networking sites (SNS), are increasingly recognized as important health promotion tools that allow efficient delivery of health communication and education, yet comparatively very few have been rigorously evaluated. Indonesia, with its huge youth population, high rates of smoking and unmet need for family planning services is an ideal setting to investigate the effectiveness of SMS interventions to help raise awareness of, and help drive demand for, adolescent friendly sexual and reproductive health services and increase knowledge of harms related to smoking.

The proposed trial will investigate whether SMS can be used to improve sexual and reproductive health (SRH) knowledge and awareness, access and utilization of SRH services, and improve awareness of harms related to smoking, on a small scale in a resource-poor setting. SMS interventions in Indonesia may also provide a potentially cost-effective tool to reach a significant proportion of the young people that would not be possible using traditional health promotion modalities.

The project is devised as an acceptability trial, where groups of young people will receive tailored messages about sexual & reproductive health and smoking based up on their risk practices and gender. This design allows us to receive feedback about the acceptability of the different types of messages from individuals, while allowing comparison of acceptability and message effectiveness by gender and smoking status.


2013 - 2015


To date a set of health message relating to SRH and the harms of smoking have been developed.

These messages included a mix of: - Factual, educational messages aimed at improving knowledge and dispelling myths and common misconceptions; - Informative messages designed to increase awareness of available health services and encourage participants to access services - Persuasive messages designed to help participant’s change/adjust their attitude/behaviours/practices and encourage more healthy behaviours.

These messages have since been organised into five groups that represent different risk profiles of youth in Indonesia. These include: - Sexual Health Messages for Males - Sexual Health Messages for Young Females (16-19) - Sexual Health Messages for Older Females (20-24) - Anti-Smoking messages for smokers - Anti-Smoking messages for passive/non-smokers


RTI International - Center for the Advancement of Health IT‎

University Gadjah Mada (UGM)- Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities -‎


RTI International

Contact Details

For any general enquiries relating to this project, please contact:

Doctor Alisa Pedrana

EC Partnership Coordinator, NHMRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow