Leveraging Technology for Maternal Health

By Rimsha Salam
Leveraging Technology for Maternal Health

The cost of insufficient maternal health has reached massive heights in recent times.

Every year, close to 350,000 women die worldwide due to a lack of proper postpartum and maternal healthcare. Around 99% of these deaths occur in third world and developing countries, with Pakistan being the leader in maternal and newborn mortality rates.

Due to the lack of newborn healthcare and medical service, one in every 22 newborn babies die within the first month of their life. Pakistan has a maternal mortality rate of 178 deaths per 100,000 live births.

The numbers are devastating, to say the least.

Through technology, we can make maternal and newborn healthcare more accessible, convenient, and affordable. Maternal women-centered, technology solutions offer cost-effective, innovative opportunities to provide culturally-tailored, neonatal, maternal, and postpartum healthcare to high-risk women.

Leveraging Mobility & Technology for Maternal Health

Technology is rapidly penetrating even the most remote corners of the world through mobiles and smartphones. For women and newborns in developing countries, the rapid expansion of mobile technology infrastructure presents an intriguing opportunity to advance access to healthcare and save lives that are lost from preventable and avoidable health conditions.

Mobile technology has great potential to improve access to quality of care, but it is not a simple or easily applicable solution for developing like Pakistan. Our country suffers from a range of technological barriers, including lack of access to electricity, stable Internet connection, and more, all of which are needed to power technological healthcare platforms and medical equipment. And not to mention appropriate mobile literacy that goes beyond navigating the social media via the cellphone.

Despite all the drawbacks, barriers, and lack of resources, the healthcare opportunities offered through mobile technologies are capable of addressing the unmet medical needs of newborns and mothers across Pakistan. There aren’t many mobile healthcare solutions and platforms in Pakistan, but there is a high demand for such programs.

Through partnerships with NGOs, leading technology companies, the government, and resource providers, we can leverage mobility and technology to save countless newborn babies’ and mother’s lives.

Health Platforms in Pakistan

There are quite a few Pakistan-based healthcare providers utilizing technology and mobility to provide accessible and affordable healthcare, consultations, and diagnosis. Platforms like Sehat Kahani, Marham, Shifa4U, and more are working to provide easy access to online healthcare. During this pandemic, these platforms have proven to be even more crucial as lockdown persists, and fear of COVID-19 prevents patients from visiting doctors.

We spoke with the founders of Sehat Kahani on how maternal health can be helped with the use of such platform and similar solutions that leverage technology to provide health care.

“Women are the most neglected when it comes to their health. Now add to the mix a developing nation where poverty, lack of financial access, and patriarchy are rampant, and it gets all the worse for women and maternal health.

In this challenging situation, by utilizing a pool of qualified female physicians and its state of the art Telemedicine solutions through a Network of 26 E-Health Clinics as well as the Sehat Kahani mobile app. We are here to ensure that every Pakistani can access a qualified maternal healthcare expert no matter wherever they are in simple three clicks,” says Dr. Iffat Zafar Aga, Co-founder & COO Sehat Kahani – A Telemedicine based Impact Business.

Dr. Sara Saeed shares her views on how a lack of proper maternal health care is affecting women across the country. And how Telemedicine is helping them get the medical services and advice they need to improve health.

“Many of us are facing a lockdown for the first time. For most women in Pakistan, this lockdown is a part of their everyday lives. 37% of women in Pakistan still deliver at home as many face hurdles going to doctors even in pregnancy, childbirth, and postnatal care.

Technology can connect these women to qualified healthcare professionals within their communities or from the comfort of their homes. Through Sehat Kahani’s 26 nurses assisted Telemedicine enabled clinics and via our Sehat Kahani Mobile App, more than 130,000 women have consulted with qualified female doctors from across the world!” adds Dr.Sara Saeed Khurram, Co-founder & COO Sehat Kahani – A Telemedicine based Impact Business.

Talking about maternal health, Dr. Anam Iqbal Dayeem, founder of ABC for Moms (After Birth Care), reveals: “In Pakistan, only 10% of mothers get postpartum care while the remaining 90% deal with postpartum issues like infections, hemorrhages, depression, and more without medical assistance after delivery. Due to the current pandemic, the percentage of women not getting appropriate maternal health care might have increased.

The lack of women getting access to proper healthcare is due to accessibility issues, transportation problems, financial hurdles, and more. ABC for Moms is a digital health care platform that provides tailored maternal health care, guidance, information, and more to new mothers by leading health experts. ABC for Moms helps new mothers by connecting them with health experts through chats, teleconsultations, community forums, and more.”

Dr. Anam’s maternal healthcare startup is helping women across the country by providing maternal health consultation from experts, a community for people to share and discuss, and guidance through there interactive online platform.

With the right resources, people, ideas, and technology saving new mothers and newborn lives from preventable and treatable complications can be easy. The potential of technology and mobility to facilitate healthcare is endless. If we set our mind to it, the deterioration of maternal mortality rates in our country can be significantly reduced. For women and newborns, third world countries, the accelerated expansion of mobile technology presents an unprecedented opportunity to increase access to health care and save lives that are lost from preventable and avoidable conditions.

 

Rimsha Salam is a tech-enthusiast, writer, blogger, ex-quality assurance engineer, and freelancer. She writes on the latest tech trends, gadgets, Information technology, and more. Always eager to learn and ready for new experiences, she is a self-proclaimed tech geek, bookaholic, introvert, and gamer.

 

Image by Veronica Nuno from Pixabay

 

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