Maternal mortality is a global public health concern. 90% of the estimated 536,000 maternal deaths in 2005 occurred in developing countries, 25% of these deaths occurred during pregnancy and increased with the prevalence of violence and unsafe abortion.
The challenge still remains that despite the medical resources made available to pregnant women and newborns, there are no adequate channels to educate pregnant women and new mothers, especially those in rural areas about the available resources.
In just 10 years, the penetration of mobile phones in Cameroon has risen from 9% in 2004 to over 84% in 2014. The use of mobile and wireless devices in medical practice and public health is increasingly being recognized as it facilitates communication between people and positively affects the lives millions of underserved persons. Mobile phone technology is a unique channel to educate pregnant women about the available medical resources, notify them on when they are to go for their antenatal care session and baby vaccination.
GiftedMom is an organization started in 2014 by its co-founders Alain NTEFF and Dr. Conrad TANKOU with mission to use New Information and Communication Technologies (NICT) to increase the rate of antenatal care attendance and baby vaccination in Cameroon.
GiftedMom has developed an automated SMS and Voice application that sends notifications to pregnant women and nursing mothers, reminding them on when to go for the next antenatal care session or take their baby for vaccination, respectively. Also, weekly SMS are sent to subscribers regarding danger signs in pregnancy, labour, delivery, vaccination, breastfeeding and post-natal care.
Pregnant women or nursing mothers are subscribed to the GiftedMom SMS and Voice Reminder service using either of the 3 methods:
- Community health workers are trained who go to hospitals each day and collect data of these women and upload into the platform for follow-up. With this, a woman must be present during antenatal care or baby vaccination to be subscribed to this service.
- Women can also subscribe remotely for the premium service at 200FCFA/month using the USSD code #203*241#. From this code, there are 3 options ranging from pregnancy care through baby care to family planning.
- For women in rural areas, they could subscribe using the short code number 8566 by sending the keyword “MOM”.
GiftedMom has also provided a two-way communication forum for women and health care professionals. Through the short code number 8566, users can pose their health concerns and receive advice in real-time from health care professionals.
Also, GiftedMom has developed a smart phone application for android users that can be downloaded on Google Playstore. This contains health information for pregnancy and baby vaccination.
Furthermore, GiftedMom has developed a Data collection tool for Development technology to increase efficiency of data collection and transmission, quality of data collected and facilitates real-time monitoring & analysis for stakeholders through its unique dashboard.
Currently working in over 26 communities in Cameroon, GiftedMom has registered over 29,000 pregnant women and nursing mothers. GiftedMom has also directly engaged the husbands of some women as well as community health workers in the fight against maternal and infant deaths. Also, GiftedMom has trained over 60 community health workers who go out to the hospitals and the communities for follow-up of these women. Current partners of GiftedMom for scaling across Cameroon include the Ministry of Public Health, UNFPA, PLAN International and the mobile network operators.
The team headed by Mr. Alain Nteff is made up of 14 rock stars in various fields including engineers, doctors and administrative assistants. All of these are headed towards one goal of improving maternal and infant healthcare access using digital technologies.
Awards and Recognitions
The GiftedMom team has been received by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the Buckingham Palace; French President Francois Hollande twice at the Quai d’Orsay in Paris and during the Africa-France summit in Bamako-Mali; Melinda Gates at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and H.E Ali Bongo’o Ondimba at the New York Forum Africa in Libreville.
GiftedMom has the following excellence awards to its credit: the Anzisha Prize offered by MasterCard Foundation for the best Social Venture (2014), the African Start-up Award (2015), award for the best health innovation in Africa (2015), Award from the Ministry of Youth and Civic Education in Cameroon (2016), Total Startupper Award (2016), Commonwealth Youth ICT application award for best E-health innovation (2016), La France s’Engage au Sud award (2016) and the Digital Africa Award for best e-health innovation (2017).
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