12-16 February marks Pregnancy Awareness Week, commemorated to promote and educate women about pregnancy, enhance healthy pregnancies as well as the delivery of healthy babies.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 800 women globally die each day from preventable causes related to childbirth and pregnancy. A staggering 99% of those women live in developing countries.
In honour of Pregnancy Awareness Week, we’re highlighting top innovative solutions that are providing expectant moms with the information that they need for a healthy pregnancy, all through a mobile phone. From text messages educating mothers on what to expect when they’re expecting, to preventing maternal and infant deaths, mobile technology is revolutionising access life-saving information.
South Africa has a high maternal and infant mortality rate. In 2015 it was reported that 41 out of 1,000 children under five died, while 140 out of 100,000 mothers lost their lives. In response to this, the National Department of Health (NDoH) launched a maternal health messaging app, MomConnect.
A first of its kind, MomConnect provides pregnant women and new mothers with health information via SMS and reminds patients about important appointments and check-ups. Even after the babies are born, new mothers continue to get SMS messages up until the baby is one years old. Since its launch in 2014, MomConnect has reached over two million users and has launched a pilot WhatsApp messaging service in order to expand its reach. In addition, the platform has also expanded to reach nurses via NurseConnect and to provide additional targeted support to mothers living with HIV.
Mum & Me
Mum & Me provides health information and video content based on various stages of pregnancy and childhood development in the first five years of the child’s life. The service builds on Vodacom’s Siyakha platform, which offers prepaid customers free access to a range of zero-rated sites. Just like with MomConnect, users receive weekly SMS’ to keep them updated on their pregnancy. In addition, users gain access to information on a range of health topics including sexual and reproductive health, breastfeeding, immunisation, mother-child bonding, nutrition and HIV/AIDS.
Mum & Baby isn’t just for mothers – it’s aimed at all caregivers looking after a baby. Since November 2017, the platform provides a whole host of information for new fathers including advice on how to identify postpartum depression, tips on raising children and wellness information like how to lower blood pressure.
GiftedMom offers medical advice via SMS or a smartphone app to women in remote rural areas, educating them on prenatal care, vaccines and reproductive health. The app tells users when and where to get the treatment they need, and gives them access to doctors who can answer health-related questions via Facebook Messenger.
The GiftedMom platform has a wide range of features which help users find a laboratory, baby sitters and comparing health insurance. Launched in 2012, the platform now has over 70,000 users in Cameroon and Nigeria.
Safe Delivery App
The Safe Delivery app provides healthcare workers in remote settings with immediate access to evidence-based information on basic emergency obstetric and neonatal care. The training tool uses animated videos and action cards to train healthcare workers on what to do when faced with birthing complications, like a new-born who isn’t breathing.
The Safe Delivery App was launched in 2010 and is currently being used in over 20 African countries including Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, South Africa and Morocco and already has over 26,000 downloads. The app is available in English and regional languages.