Accelerating maternal and newborn health gains through digital health innovation in Zanzibar

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Since 2011, D-tree International has worked with the Zanzibar Ministry of Health to deploy digital health innovation to improve access to quality maternal and newborn care. The program empowers Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) to deliver comprehensive maternal newborn care to communities using a mobile application to develop birth plans, screen for danger signs, and refer clients to health facilities. CHVs also visit women after delivery to counsel on postpartum and neonatal care. 

Since its inception, the platform has supported more than 70,000 women to deliver safely, and has demonstrated positive impacts on the health system, including a 50% increase in facility delivery, a 3-fold increase in referral completion, and a 15- fold increase in CHV performance. This intervention has grown from a pilot to a national program, and represents one of the few examples of a digital health program being successfully integrated into the national health system to transform the quality of care at a national scale.

The Zanzibar MOH has formally adopted the program, and is scaling it nationally within Zanzibar to support comprehensive service delivery for pregnant women and children up to age 5. We believe best practices and lessons from this national program, which are grounded in the recently approved Digital Investment Principles and Principles for Digital Development, can be used to guide digital health interventions elsewhere.

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