May 26, 2024

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Three Lessons On Using Technology To Advance Maternal Health

Anna Frellsen is the CEO of Maternity Foundation. She has a qualifications with McKinsey&Firm, an MBA from IESE and sits on several boards.

In the course of the pandemic, some nations in Africa saw will increase in maternal mortality premiums. Shifting ahead, I think we can anticipate to see amplified mortality premiums in other low- and middle-earnings countries. Also, I assume to see spikes in unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions.

The Covid-19 pandemic is mostly to blame. All more than the planet, the pandemic disrupted healthcare devices and cut off access to basic solutions for expecting and laboring females.

Now, it is time to convert the tides, and we know what it normally takes. As the CEO of Maternity Foundation, I’ve seen that the large the vast majority of maternal fatalities are preventable if gals get quality care from a experienced health care worker. In a lot of areas, health care staff practicing midwifery really don’t have enough techniques and understanding to deal with fundamental childbirth problems and emergencies. In addition, we at present absence virtually 1 million midwives to make certain good quality treatment for all gals and newborns.

What can be finished to shut this gap, and how can we progress maternal wellness products and services? There are no uncomplicated responses or rapid fixes, but one particular of the important components is to attain and assist health care employees with essential and up to date steerage on how to manage childbirth problems. Here, we see that technology can be utilised as value-powerful leverage to not only progress maternal health but, additional broadly, to reinforce world-wide development operate.

Technology—A Magic Bullet?

At Maternity Foundation, we get the job done to assure safer births for females and their newborns. With our technologies, we have reached health care personnel close to the world and supported them with critical recommendations linked to safer childbirths. On the other hand, technological innovation is not a magic bullet. It wants to be applied with care.

Below are three critical learnings from implementing digital methods to support and prepare health care employees and progress maternal overall health in very low-useful resource settings.

1. Technological know-how really should not appear very first.

These days, about 4 billion persons are mobile world-wide-web end users. I have discovered that some people today in sub-Saharan Africa have easier obtain to a cell phone than to basic sanitation. This offers an immense option to get to and aid additional individuals and to do it in a price-efficient way.

However, we must not overlook that world-wide-web connectivity is however a massive challenge, primarily in rural options, exactly where cell devices also tend to be less difficult, have much less functionalities and fewer storage. For the duration of the pandemic, we saw a ton of digital alternatives for men and women in these types of places, but some necessary substantial world-wide-web connectivity and thus never reached concentrate on populations.

At Maternity Foundation, we have acquired that simple answers generally make the major change in lower-resource options. For case in point, by way of our application, we give health care employees with very simple animated instructions for immediate guidance in the course of childbirths. The moment downloaded, the application works offline. We also get the job done with a digital remedy for outdated-characteristic telephones, which provides info by text messages to expecting women and has a voice information perform for those with low literacy.

In my practical experience, a lot of digital alternatives are produced from a “what’s possible” place of departure alternatively than from a “what’s needed” foundation. It really should be the other way about. As a result, before you soar on the technology wagon and carry in the finest IT developers, you should scrutinize the dilemma and attempt to resolve from a need to have- and context-based perspective.

2. Prioritize the ecosystem over the answer.

Your digital option can’t stand alone. Placing a new application in Google Participate in or the App Keep simply just won’t make a distinction. It requirements to be an integrated ingredient of a bigger technique, complementing programs and instruments presently there—whether it is an academic software, a humanitarian response or a enhancement project. This also demands that your electronic resource is interoperable with other answers, which you need to be mindful of in its design.

For my firm, solid partnerships are key to catalyzing scale and integration. We do the job with different companions, normally governments and countrywide institutions, and offer them with technological support to combine our answers in their current nationwide applications. We have discovered not to start new variations of our applications unless of course a spouse endorses them and provides a financially sustainable product.

Scaling up your answer can proficiently be carried out by strong partnerships. It strengthens possession and consequently heightens the probability of for a longer time-term results, but it also entails making up dependencies and often helps make planning much less linear. In your strategic preparing and concentrate on environment, it will consequently make feeling to believe about a “portfolio of engagements” somewhat than 1:1 undertaking strategies and focus on location, as some engagements will do well in a offered time body and many others will not.

3. Comprehend the will need for customization.

1 dimensions for all won’t work, and it is essential you have a digital software that can be tailored to the focused context—this goes for the language and written content, as properly as the visuals. This also presents the essential ownership indicated higher than. However, there is continue to a great deal to leverage from a universal bundle, guaranteeing that you don’t have to commence in excess of when you would like to utilize your instrument in a distinct context.

We develop our perform on an 80% standardized deal and customize 20% to in shape regional contexts and requirements. We locate that a great deal of our information can be replicated throughout diverse contexts. It is a huge edge to have a standardized deal that can very easily be up-to-date and that builds on worldwide proof and best methods. A robust platform and operating product also make it feasible to answer speedily to new medical requires or contexts.

Your device could not require the identical ratio in terms of standardization versus customization. Making a sturdy electronic platform is a big investment, and in get to go over and above the pilot phase, the will need for customization and the running product to accommodate this require really should be assessed up entrance.

Technological innovation is not a magic bullet, but when we implement it in an smart fashion, it can make a massive difference. Let us use it, and let’s use it correctly, to train far more midwives better, advance maternal healthcare services and develop back again more powerful overall immediately after the pandemic.


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