How Mobile apps are saving mothers and babies in Africa
Pregnant women and new mothers now have a new way of learning how to ensure they and their babies remain healthy through their mobile phones.App developers across the continent are developing text-messaging service for pregnant women and postnatal mothers. The apps provides women with life-saving information during pregnancy and in the early days after delivery, such as helping women identify the signs that they or their babies may need to visit a health facility.They also helps midwives to encourage mothers to visit health facilities. Studies have shown that the aim is to see all pregnant women deliver their babies at such facilities because statistics shows approximately 50,000 pregnant women from the sub saharan Africa, together with health workers and government officials are using such mobile apps.According to the WHO and UNICEF, the rate of maternal and infant mortality in Africa is unacceptably high. In fact, the continent has the highest rate of maternal mortality globally. An estimated 50,000 women die every year from complications during pregnancy and childbirth. While improvements have been seen in reducing under-5 and infant mortality, the mortality rate among newborn babies has not decreased since 2004.
Mobile apps are expected to benefit pregnant women and new mothers in Africa by helping to combat high maternal and neonatal mortality rates. At the moment, they have reached approximately 200,000 women, while more than 3000,000 text messages have been delivered to registered women.The majority of both maternal and newborn baby deaths are preventable. However, many women and their families lack the knowledge about what to expect during pregnancy and the postnatal period, including healthcare practices and the danger signs for both moms and babies. SMS based applications are exactly the type of innovation that can make a difference in a region like Africa. By providing women with important information directly via their cell phones, software developers have a real opportunity to save lives in the World’s most impoverished continent. Apps also provides an innovative and low-cost solution that reaches expectant and new mothers wherever they are. After sending a simple registration message, the women receive free targeted messages about antenatal and postnatal care tailored to their stage of pregnancy from the first trimester to 90 days after delivery. The content is mainly developed by clinicians in accordance with the Health Ministries as well as globally acceptable maternal guidelines.Reducing maternal and newborn mortality rates are critical Millennium Development Goals for Africa.