The World Health Organisation (WHO) has developed an eHealth solution to reduce the high labour-related child and maternal death rate in sub-Saharan Africa.

The software, which is tagged Simplified, Effective, Labour Monitoring-to-Action (SELMA) tool, is a product of a study conducted using hospital data of over 10,000 deliveries from Nigeria and Uganda. The system would be built into mobile phones, tablets and other mobile devices.

The software was developed by a team of researchers, led by Medical Officer at the WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research, Prof João Paulo Souza. Prof Souza is also a Professor of Social Medicine at the Ribeirão Preto Medical School, University of São Paulo, Brazil.

“The benefits of the software is such that hopefully when the suggestions are taken, it will reduce adverse outcomes in both the mothers and the babies and we look forward to the implementation of this software when it eventually comes out,” said Obstetrician/Gynaecologist in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at University College Hospital (UCH), Dr Bukola Fawole. Dr Fawole is part of the research team.

The software acts as an artificial intelligence which helps healthcare providers on how best to treat women in labour, by inputting the data of the women in the software to identify how similar women were managed before.

The tool also promises to identify the essential elements of intra-partum, the period from the onset of labour to the end of the third stage of labour, monitoring that trigger the decision to use interventions aimed at preventing poor labour outcomes that usually lead to the death of mother and child.

While the software promises to enhance the capacity of less skilled persons working in rural areas, it is not intended to replace the expertise of a specialist.

The team, at a study dissemination meeting in Abuja, said they would have the test version ready by November 2016, which would be used in a larger study in 2017.

“In November, we will release it for testing, and we hope by the end of next year it will be ready for public use,” concluded Prof Souza.

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