LONDON (Reuters) – Community health workers in India and Uganda, will be armed with smartphones and tablets that make use of data analytics, risk maps, and social media trends that will help to save the lives of mothers and their babies.
FILE PHOTO: A baby girl to cool off as well as her mother (not pictured) is to fill the tub with water on a hot summer’s day, in addition to a farm on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, India, on May 2, 2017. REUTERS/Amit Dave
The $100 million project, which is funded by the World Health Organization (who), UNICEF, the world bank, and others, will be expanded to 10 countries and is focused on preventing the early deaths of 6 million women and children by 2030.
The plan is to get first-line healthcare workers are cheap, data-analysis tools to help them gather the information they need in order to focus on the communities and the families that are most at risk, according to Raj Shah, the president of the philanthropic Rockefeller Foundation, and is co-leading the project.
This will, among other things, the creation of a real-time risk maps, in order to help the health workers to be more effective in reaching mothers and children in need, and for analyzing non-medical data, such as climate, the patterns of social media trends to predict and prepare for local disease outbreaks or in case of an emergency.
“A couple of years ago, in this community, and the health of the workers, had no real technology, and they were mostly flying blind,” Shah told Reuters.
“Today, the vast majority of them have a smart phone with data and software technologies is, literally, in their hands, and that we can help them do their job better.”
U. N. figures published last week showed that, while more and more women and babies survive than ever before, and with a baby, or a pregnant woman still dies every 11 seconds somewhere in the world.
The levels of maternal deaths is almost 50% higher for women in sub-Saharan Africa than in the developed countries, and their infants are 10 times more likely to die during the first month of their lives, the report found.
UNICEF’s executive director, Henrietta Fore, said that with the addition of a precision approach with the aid of a granular knowledge of the people and families who are most at risk due to poverty, and the medical history of, or gaps in vaccination, for example – would help the health of the teams to make life-saving decisions, and the prevention of epidemics before they happen.”
“A timely, reliable and disaggregated data, and supported by a commitment to universal coverage of health care, you can make sure that the vulnerable, women, children and young people receive the care they need at the right place at the right time,” she said.
Reporting by Kate Kelland; Editing by Alison Williams