This blog was originally published by Safermom. Written by Adeloye.
Low income communities are faced with massive challenges in Africa. Not because Africa lacks capacity to solve its immediate challenges but several factors are militating against its survival. In spite of these numerous problems, most challenges of the developing countries are preventable perhaps if more innovative approaches are implemented in solving local problems.
Although statistically, innovations from Africa are on the rise, Africa is still deeply under-performing in the core areas of health care, youth empowerment and basic infrastructure.
The challenges of Basic Health Care
As we speak, a mother had just lost her life due to complication related to pregnancy and child birth according to reports by World Health Organization. In a core village in Northern Nigeria, an unskilled health practitioner is probably battling with a life of a child which has little or hope of surviving. These are few realities of a country that loses about 40,000 mothers and 260,000 new born babies yearly due to preventable health challenges.
With about 50% of total population of Nigeria living in low income communities, access to comprehensive healthcare is a luxury. Many new and expectant mothers travel for several hours away to access healthcare thereby reducing antenatal care by 40% in the developing world.
The copyright of this image belows to maternity Worldwide
Many new mothers fail to present their babies for immunization routine for several reasons ranging from distance barrier, contrary religious believes, high transportation cost, negligence and illiteracy. In slum areas where health facilities are present, wards are densely populated due to poor schedules, disease burdens on health workers mainly due to communicable diseases such as TB, Malaria and HIV/AIDS.
A skilled medical attendant has to deal with about 20,000 patients with varying degrees of ailment in very harsh conditions. In some communities, modern medical healthcare is seen as abomination. Women are barred from receiving modern health care thereby seeking native approaches which may be unsafe and hazardous to health.
Available Solutions Aren’t Solving Major Challenges
Most exciting health solutions are very cumbersome with little or no impact. Although most of the exciting models for solving health challenges are innovative but are less impact. Most are best for develop economies with standard economic structures, basic amenities, high level of literacy, constant electricity, fast internet and minimal level of corruption and abject poverty. Most health techno powered systems are powered without prior knowledge of the true realities of the problems Africa faces.
You Probably Have Heard of Mobile Money, Mobile Teachers, But How About “Small m, Big H” Mobile Health?
With rapid growth in mobile phone adoption in Africa within the last five years and over 80 million mobile phones subscription in Nigeria is helping us improve maternal health care. Mobile phones being one of the most important and proven tools for penetration into the emerging markets with unprecedented growth. SaferMom leverages on the power of low cost mobile technologies to reduce maternal and infant mortality under the age of five years in rural Nigeria.
The New Hope SaferMom Brought
SaferMom platforms are built on sophisticated tools with a typical African user centric mindset. SaferMom deploys tools and ideas through mobile technologies reaching undeserved communities. Our goal is to provide vital health information to saving mothers and newborns in Nigeria.
Yes, It’s Truly Unique
SaferMom messages are deployed in form of SMS and Voice calls in local Nigeria Languages. Also we will enable NGOs to launch campaigns via SMS and Voice calls (our server calls a mobile phone and when the recipient answers, the server plays back a pre-recorded voice message in the local language), not just via online texting. Voice broadcasting, unlike SMS, can reach and effectively communicate with 100% of the poor who have access to mobile phones – in their local language and dialect.
Voice calls solve the challenge of communicating with those who are illiterate, especially women in the least developed countries – half of whom are illiterate. Yet, very few voice call programs exist today because building and implementing them is very costly and technically difficult. SaferMom will drastically reduce these technical difficulties and provide affordable packages for NGOs to easily and quickly undertake voice call messaging campaigns.
Wondering What Our Solutions Will Impact
Our solutions aren’t just for babies and mothers. We strongly believe that safer moms imply safer family, safer communities and safer world. Our solutions can be used to easily:
- Track vaccinations
- Follow up pregnancy
- Disperse emergency information
- Educate health workers
- Reach underserved communities in case of epidemic diseases, violence, natural disasters
- Report emergencies during pregnancy
- Educate at-risk children, fathers and neighbours
- Conduct feedback and check corruption in Health systems
Do you have a different take on these key problems and the best ways to solve them? We would love to hear your thoughts!