Maternova focuses on making innovations for maternal and newborn health accessible in an efficient and rapid marketplace.
Our venture is a social enterprise dedicated to accelerating the reduction of maternal/newborn morbidity and mortality. Maternova began as a knowledge platform but swiftly added its marketplace for path-breaking innovations based on input from its users. Starting in 2009, we realized that a huge wave of innovation was occurring in universities, labs, startups and even within aid agencies--global health technology was suddenly a hot topic. An innovation would spring up, become the subject of a local or national news story and then disappear. But where was the evolution of these technologies tracked over time? Where could a policymaker or health provider go to get a quick update? At the time, there was no single site to track this information.
We created an Innovation Index that now covers over 140 innovations in maternal and newborn health. We know that an entire functioning health system is needed to save women's lives— and so our innovation index covers everything along the continuum of care— from transport, to protocols, checklists, to solar light and power, information communication technologies (ICT) to medical devices and drugs. We will soon be carrying low-cost training materials as well.
To date, the site has been visited by over 40,000 users from 170 countries. In 2012, users from India, Pakistan and the Philippines have become top visitors. Over the first year, an interesting phenomenon occurred— our visitors were less interested in tracking the 'stories' of the technologies— rather, they wanted to access the technologies, to test them and to pilot them.
We soon shifted to become a marketplace as well— as soon as a technology is available for commercialization, we aim to add the innovation to our marketplace and thereby support our growth by selling the innovations as an online distributor. We believe that technologies that will be used together by the same frontline provider should be packaged and travel together whenever possible. We've already worked with groups in a huge range of countries from Papua New Guinea, East Timor, Guatemala, the Philippines, India, Pakistan, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, Honduras, Haiti and more. What is particularly intriguing about this work is the unusual, creative projects we hear about from around the world, projects that may not currently be part of some of the main donor networks. We also put tremendous value on the voice of the providers and their assessment of the innovations. Their feedback is taken into account in our search for additional products and our recommendations to entrepreneurs and others looking to create new products with large social and health impact.
It is such an exciting time to be part of this work, with declines in maternal mortality now being seen in many countries— we know that rapid change is possible.
To learn more about Maternova, please click here.