Bringing Healthcare to the Fingertips of Pregnant Women and Nursing Mothers in Africa
YAOUNDÉ, Cameroon, May 11, 2018 /3BL Media/ – Mobile-health service GiftedMom has joined Business Call to Action (BCtA) with a pledge to expand its operations in three new African countries and stop easily preventable maternal and infant deaths. The innovative healthcare provider connects medical professionals to pregnant women and nursing mothers on mobile phones across Cameroon as well as provide health information for its users via SMS, online articles and a smartphone application. GiftedMom will plan to launch its service in Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, and Kenya to improve access to antenatal care to 500,000 pregnant women, improve the vaccination turnout of 700 000 children, and improve access to health services of 500,000 users by 2020.
Launched in 2008, BCtA aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that engage people with less than US$10 per day in purchasing power (in 2015 dollars) as consumers, producers, suppliers and distributors. It is supported by several international organizations and hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Worldwide, about 800 pregnant women die each day. Easily preventable diseases lead to around 1.5 million infant deaths every year. In Cameroon, the maternal mortality rate stands at 596 per 100,000 live births and the infant mortality rate is at 60 per 1000 live births. Most of these deaths could be prevented with access to antenatal care and information, vaccinations or timely health advice. Pregnant women and nursing mothers living in developing countries often delay decisions to seek healthcare and their remote locations limit them when trying to find health information or reach medical professionals for check-ups.
GiftedMom turns an everyday communication tool such as the mobile phone into a channel for health advice, bridging the gap between medical assistance/health information and low-income African women. Expectant and nursing mothers can sign-up for the phone service with a one-off subscription fee of less than a dollar or download the smartphone application from Google Playstore. Using SMS messages, the innovative automated SMS and voice messaging platform automatically reminds users of antenatal appointments, provide vaccination alerts, advice on health risks and complications, as well as information on family planning and breastfeeding.
“Our service brings health to the fingertips of African women using popular and affordable mobile phone technology. Since the beginning of our trial in 2014, we now check in on around 110,000 pregnant women and mothers in rural and urban Cameroon. The health advice we provide has increased antenatal turnout to 80 per cent and vaccination turnout to 90 per cent in some medical centres we work with,” said Alain Nteff, CEO of GiftedMom.
Through their BCtA commitment, GiftedMom democratises health by expanding access to antenatal care, health services and vaccinations for rural and urban women and children at the Base of the economic Pyramid (BoP). For users who cannot read or write, SMS messages can be sent via a voice application and translated into the local language. In addition to text messages, chatbots provide useful health services to users through GiftedMom’s online channels when there is no need for a doctor.
“Award-winning health service and innovator, GiftedMom, demonstrates that technology can be used creatively to make a positive social impact in developing countries improving health and gender equity,”said Paula Pelaez, Head of BCtA.
BCtA membership does not constitute a partnership with its funding and programme partners, UNDP or any UN agency.
About Business Call to Action (BCtA): Launched at the United Nations in 2008, BCtA aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that offer the potential for both commercial success and development impact. For more information, please visit www.businesscalltoaction.org.
About GiftedMom: Based in Cameroon, GiftedMom is an innovative social enterprise that uses digital technologies to improve and democratise healthcare. It partners with local mobile phone networks, aid organisations, the official Ministry of Health, and FMCGs dealing with baby products, to create a for-profit health service with modest costs for users and the potential to save lives. This year GiftedMom was nominated UN World Summit Awards Global Champion in the category Young Innovator. In 2017, GiftedMom was the recipient of several awards including Seed Stars Cameroon Winner, Gavi INFUSE Pacesetter, and AFD Digital Africa Challenge Award Winner.