By: Smita Gaith, Women Deliver
Telecom provider Etisalat was recently honored at the GSM (Groupe Spéciale Mobile)Association Awards, for its new maternal health product. The company has received the awards for “Best Mobile Health Innovation” and “mWomen Best Mobile Product” for its innovative service program called “Etisalat Mobile Baby.”
Nearly all maternal mortality cases occur in developing countries, with 1 in 31 deaths occurring in sub-Saharan Africa. Many of these deaths can be prevented by ensuring greater access to information for health workers, more timely arrival at health facilities, and increased ability to recognize problems during pregnancy. Use of this mobile platform addresses three major factors responsible for maternal and newborn mortality, by reducing delays in seeking health care, in arriving at a health facility, and receiving appropriate care.
This product provides a compilation of services which allow midwives and other birth attendants to ensure safer pregnancies and deliveries. Specific features include remote monitoring of pregnancy using ultrasound; ability to identify and report danger during labor and deliver; ability to pay for services such as transportation using mobile phone and banking systems; and communication with referral facilities to designate women and their needs in case of emergency transfers. When birth attendants, such as midwives, use the technology, they are better able to recognize, communicate, and act on emergencies related to pregnancy and delivery.
Currently, Etisalat Mobile Baby is in use in Tanzania, where there has been a drop in maternal mortality rates, and an increase in the use of medical facilities for deliveries. The service is slated to be launched in several other countries this year, including other Sub-Saharan nations (Ivory Coast, Benin, Togo, Niger, Central African Republic and Gabon), as well as Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The innovative technology was developed in partnership with Qualcomm, D-Tree International and Great Connection. More information about the competition is available at the Global Mobile Awards website.
Flickr photograph via whiteafrican