Three Lessons On Using Technology To Advance Maternal Health

ByThelma M. Gutowski

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Anna Frellsen is the CEO of Maternity Basis. She has a history with McKinsey&Corporation, an MBA from IESE and sits on numerous boards.

For the duration of the pandemic, some nations around the world in Africa noticed improves in maternal mortality premiums. Going ahead, I think we can hope to see elevated mortality fees in other small- and middle-profits countries. In addition, I hope to see spikes in unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions.

The Covid-19 pandemic is largely to blame. All more than the globe, the pandemic disrupted healthcare systems and reduce off entry to simple products and services for expecting and laboring gals.

Now, it is time to turn the tides, and we know what it will take. As the CEO of Maternity Basis, I have seen that the huge vast majority of maternal deaths are preventable if ladies obtain good quality care from a qualified healthcare employee. In numerous areas, health care personnel working towards midwifery never have adequate capabilities and expertise to deal with primary childbirth difficulties and emergencies. In addition, we at this time absence nearly 1 million midwives to be certain high-quality treatment for all females and newborns.

What can be finished to close this hole, and how can we advance maternal wellness solutions? There are no effortless responses or rapid fixes, but just one of the critical factors is to arrive at and help healthcare staff with necessary and current steerage on how to deal with childbirth issues. Below, we see that technology can be utilized as cost-helpful leverage to not only advance maternal wellbeing but, far more broadly, to reinforce world improvement function.

Technology—A Magic Bullet?

At Maternity Basis, we work to guarantee safer births for girls and their newborns. With our technologies, we have attained health care workers about the world and supported them with critical guidance linked to safer childbirths. Even so, technologies is not a magic bullet. It needs to be used with care.

Underneath are 3 crucial learnings from making use of digital options to assist and educate healthcare employees and progress maternal wellbeing in reduced-resource options.

1. Technologies ought to not arrive first.

Right now, in excess of 4 billion men and women are cellular web end users. I’ve found that some folks in sub-Saharan Africa have simpler accessibility to a cell cellphone than to basic sanitation. This delivers an immense possibility to reach and help far more folks and to do it in a price tag-effective way.

Even so, we will have to not fail to remember that world-wide-web connectivity is still a large obstacle, particularly in rural options, exactly where cellular devices also are inclined to be simpler, have less functionalities and much less storage. For the duration of the pandemic, we saw a whole lot of electronic solutions for people today in these kinds of parts, but some required large web connectivity and consequently under no circumstances attained focus on populations.

At Maternity Foundation, we have acquired that simple solutions typically make the biggest variation in low-useful resource options. For example, as a result of our application, we provide healthcare employees with uncomplicated animated recommendations for quick assist in the course of childbirths. The moment downloaded, the application performs offline. We also perform with a electronic answer for previous-function telephones, which gives information by textual content messages to expecting ladies and has a voice information perform for all those with low literacy.

In my expertise, lots of electronic answers are designed from a “what’s possible” level of departure rather than from a “what’s needed” foundation. It need to be the other way about. Therefore, right before you soar on the technological innovation wagon and provide in the very best IT developers, you have to scrutinize the issue and try to solve from a need- and context-dependent standpoint.

2. Prioritize the ecosystem about the remedy.

Your electronic solution are unable to stand alone. Putting a new application in Google Play or the App Retail outlet simply just won’t make a variation. It wants to be an integrated component of a larger technique, complementing plans and equipment already there—whether it is an academic software, a humanitarian reaction or a advancement job. This also needs that your digital software is interoperable with other answers, which you want to be mindful of in its style and design.

For my organization, potent partnerships are vital to catalyzing scale and integration. We perform with several companions, usually governments and countrywide establishments, and supply them with technical guidance to combine our solutions in their existing countrywide programs. We have uncovered not to launch new versions of our equipment except a spouse endorses them and gives a monetarily sustainable design.

Scaling up your solution can effectively be performed through solid partnerships. It strengthens possession and hence heightens the likelihood of for a longer time-time period good results, but it also entails developing up dependencies and typically will make planning considerably less linear. In your strategic scheduling and focus on environment, it will consequently make sense to feel about a “portfolio of engagements” instead than 1:1 challenge strategies and concentrate on location, as some engagements will be successful in a specified time frame and others won’t.

3. Recognize the will need for customization.

One sizing for all won’t operate, and it is essential you have a electronic tool that can be adapted to the specific context—this goes for the language and written content, as perfectly as the visuals. This also gives the vital ownership indicated above. Nonetheless, there is nonetheless a large amount to leverage from a universal bundle, making certain that you never have to commence around when you want to utilize your tool in a different context.

We establish our function on an 80% standardized bundle and personalize 20% to healthy local contexts and demands. We obtain that a large amount of our content material can be replicated across diverse contexts. It is a enormous benefit to have a standardized deal that can very easily be up-to-date and that builds on world-wide evidence and most effective methods. A sturdy system and functioning design also make it achievable to respond promptly to new scientific needs or contexts.

Your software could not need the similar ratio in conditions of standardization compared to customization. Developing a strong digital system is a substantial investment decision, and in buy to go further than the pilot phase, the need for customization and the running product to accommodate this require ought to be assessed up entrance.

Technology is not a magic bullet, but when we use it in an intelligent manner, it can make a large difference. Let us use it, and let’s use it properly, to prepare more midwives greater, advance maternal healthcare solutions and create back again stronger in general after the pandemic.


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