By Diana Klatt. Originally posted on www.medium.com.
Things may seem tumultuous in the world right now but not here at Nivi — we’re excited to share the news that we’ve reached 2 million users! That’s 2 million users that we are guiding through conversations about sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and COVID-19 to improve health literacy and to help fill the gap of access to health services and products, primarily in Kenya and India. It’s been a long journey since 2017 and we’re so glad you’ve been here with us! So, how did we get here and where are we heading?
Nivi has always been about empowering users to understand their health needs and resources and will continue to focus on bringing health resources to people. We started as a family planning counseling solution in western Kenya, in partnership with MSD for Mothers, using IVR technology to deliver automated contraceptive decision support (inspired by the Population Council’s Balanced Counseling Strategy Plus). The original version had an SMS helpline for users with questions, which turned out to be a great source of consumer traction. These unstructured conversations made it easy and convenient to engage Nivi. We also learned that focusing solely on counseling for contraceptive methods was not enough to improve health outcomes. So, we pivoted.
We created action-oriented conversations, through askNivi, and positioned them as the means to motivate users to unlock their agency of seeking family planning services and products through counseling and education. In order to get our information to the greatest number of people, we increased our digital marketing approach and expanded our chatbot to be available via SMS, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp. But that’s not all — we also took Nivi to India! This expansion in digital platforms and geographies enabled us to see a 7x user growth in Kenya and we were able to reach 1 million users in India in just under 5 months!
So, how did we do it? Through our partnerships with organizations such as Population Services Kenya, MTV Staying Alive Foundation, Pathfinder International; by using targeted advertising to engage users; and by making sure that the user is always at the center of our design. Our goal is to make the health seeking journey as easy as possible for our users and to provide the best services and resources from our partners to our users, which is achieved through our Engage, Chat, Act model.
Engage. Chat. Act.
Our Engage, Chat, Act model fits within our larger model that not only supports our users realization of their health objectives but also helps our partners to uncover insights into consumers’ health seeking behaviors, determine knowledge gaps, and identify ways partners can offer appropriate services to their target audiences. The goal is to empower users through trusted and timely communication, help providers to better engage with patients throughout their health journeys, and to improve service quality and coverage at the market-level.
Nivi creates awareness and drives adoption through partners’ outreach and digital campaigns, which directs users to our multi-platform chatbot on apps that they are already using. Our AI-powered chat learns about the users and provides conversational health information specific for that user’s needs and intentions on action. We are able to learn about users’ readiness to take action to improve their health through the action framework and creating a readiness profile based on the types and timing of the messages and conversations we have with users, ultimately motivating them to move towards action (user-initiated care). Additionally, we are able to evaluate and derive insights about our users’ health behaviors, while protecting individual privacy, to in-turn improve the services locally available to them.
2020 (and Beyond) Vision
Our vision is to empower consumer self-care for health. It has become apparent, now more than ever, that users need and want to be in control of their health but that they may have barriers… and that’s where Nivi comes in. Our platform continues to expand in health-related topics and geographies to serve a greater number of people. As we continue to grow, we can generate more insights into human and social behaviors about things like COVID-19, knowledge and attitudes about SRH, perceived sense of self-risk for health conditions, the health behaviors of social circles and communities, and so much more! Our focus is to meet the users at their individual places within their journey and to tailor the conversations to match them. We are constantly working on improving our conversational AI and deep insights into human behavior in order to improve health outcomes for people globally.
What are some things we’re currently working on? Nivi is creating new conversational content and scaling in Kenya through Grand Challenges Canada, where we will focus on providing more in-depth information on SRH and family planning. We are working with PSI India to dive deeper into COVD-19 related topics, focusing on educating and empowering users to take control of their own health as well as their impact on their communities. Nivi has recently expanded into South Africa, where we are working to combat the spread of COVID-19 through providing trustworthy and reliable information to inform attitude changes and behavioral shifts in users. We are using the deep insights we garner from these partnerships to make adjustments to better serve the users and provide recommendations to partners on how they can impact both our direct audience and the general public for increased self-care and health literacy.
We’re excited for this journey and hope you are too!