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Project uses smartphones to combat maternal mortality

A simple action using smartphones can help save the lives of six million people worldwide by 2030. A Rockefeller Foundation initiative wants to use mobile platforms to inform pregnant women and mitigate one of the main fatalities in poorer regions: maternal mortality.

This type of death is related to when a pregnant woman loses her life during pregnancy, childbirth or shortly after the child is born. The main reason for this is usually associated with three issues, according to a survey conducted by several Brazilian universities in 2018. The first is the delay in the decision, whether by the patient or family, to seek help. Followed by this is the difficulty of reaching a place that can provide the right treatment for the pregnant woman. Finally, the last problem is the delay in offering help at the right time.

Because of this, the foundation is starting a pilot project in Uganda and India by 2022 to provide a link for pregnant women to seek help during pregnancy. The proposal should be expanded to eight other countries by 2030. The foundation is investing $ 100 million to ensure women can connect with specialists and also create care spaces for pregnant women closer to underserved communities.

“We want to make sure healthcare workers can provide the right information to the right people at the right time,” explains Manisha Bhinge, associate director of the foundation's initiative. Most of the reasons for the death of pregnant women in regions such as South Asia and South Africa are due to diseases such as Ebola, malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia. According to a World Health Organization survey, in 2017 nearly 300,000 women and newborns died, and 94% were in resource-poor regions.

In addition, the foundation also wants to use user data to find disease risk areas to prevent pregnant women from being affected. The project is expected to move soon to other regions of southern Africa in the next stage.

Source: SciDev, WHO, Scielo

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