More than 1,000 women die every day in the developing world as a result of complications in childbirth. Focused on prevention and integration with the health system, D-tree's project, partially funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, aims to use a mobile phone application to reduce the logistical and financial barriers to safe births and post-partum care for mother and child.
In Zanzibar half of all births still take place at home, far from skilled care. Main obstacles to clinic deliveries include a lack of understanding of the benefits of delivering in a health center, delays in decision-making to get there in time, and lack of available finances for transport. Further, only one-third of Zanzibari mothers and newborns receive post-natal check-ups within 42 days after birth, locking them out of opportunities to access post-partum care and infant vaccinations.
D-tree has developed a mobile phone app for midwives that leads a midwife through the Zanzibar Ministry of Health care guidelines and allows them to screen pregnant mothers to identify risks, find the closest health center and identify a means of transportation to reach the clinic. It also uses mobile banking to pay for the transportation and alerts the clinic that an expectant mother is on the way. This is revolutionary because it breaks down major barriers to care for mothers at risk.
The results D-tree has seen show an increase in clinic deliveries from 30% to 70% in the first five months of the project. The long-term goal is for 85% of mothers who have a condition requiring delivery at a health center in participating districts to have clinic deliveries and at least one follow-up visit for mother and child in the home. D-tree's vision is for every mother on Zanzibar to be reached with high quality care from pregnancy to infancy.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).
D-tree: Using mHealth for safer births (YouTube)