Interview: "The Project Will Impact 10,000 Pregnant Women"
Alain Nteff, Co-founder and Director of GiftedMom, talks on the advantages of his invention.
What has been the public response to the SMS notification and alert messages to pregnant women, a GiftedMom project in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund in the Far North Region?
The mobile phone connected to the GiftedMom application can greatly extend the reach of health systems in communities. Empowering community relays who used to collect data on paper with such a tool is a huge investment in improving the health of the community, especially very vulnerable pregnant women. The response has been positive. We are shaping and saving lives.
In partnership with the United Nations Population Fund, Cameroon, GiftedMom trained and empowered 36 community relays and heads of maternities with mobile-based tools and optimized 4 tricycle ambulances to increase antenatal care turnout in the Far North Region. The smart phones handed over to community relays are connected to the GiftedMom application.
The task of the relays is to register pregnant women in the community for SMS reminders on when to go for their antenatal care sessions. The project will directly and indirectly impact over 10,000 pregnant women in 12 months.
Broadband penetration in Cameroon is estimated at 80 per cent, with limited access to some of the health areas where you are carrying out the project. How is your team overcoming such challenges?
The World Health Organisation recommends that a pregnant woman does at least 4 antenatal care visits, but only 25 per cent of pregnant women in the Far North do the fourth visit or more. The objective of the project is to increase the rate of antenatal care attendance, especially the fourth visit to 60 per cent.
GiftedMom has been able to increase antenatal care attendance in other intervention zones up to 91 per cent. We are very optimistic about the results in 12 months. Combining mobile-based tools of GiftedMom and optimizing the tricycle ambulances provided by the UNFPA increases the rate of deliveries in the health centres.
This solves the problem of long distances from the community to the hospitals and permits women who start labour late at night or in the early hours of the morning to be able to get medical care. Also, data reporting at the level of health centres takes months to reach stakeholders like development organizations and the Ministry of Public Health. Through this project, we have trained heads of maternities to use our application to send monthly data on maternal indicators. This facilities real-time monitoring and intervention.
How soon can GiftedMom cover the 211 health centres in the country?
GiftedMom operates in 34 health centres and has reached over 23,000 women in 24 months. We have just signed a deal with the Ministry of Public Health to reach the 211 key health centres in Cameroon. We are currently mobilizing funds to this effect and hope to make imprints in other parts of Africa.
It will cost about 280 Million FCFA to cover all 211 health centres annually. We are looking for development partners to take on this milestone and reach the over 900, 000 pregnant women in Cameroon annually. Our vision spans across Cameroon and we have just launched seed fundraising for 300 Million FCFA to expand to other developing countries.
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