Project Lead(s): Magaly Blas
Worldwide, 800 women die every day due to pregnancy and childbirth complications, and more than 2,000 children are left motherless.
While Peru as a whole has made good progress in improving pregnancy outcomes, rural areas of the Amazon basin – many of which are only accessible by boat – continue to lag and have the worst health indicators in the country.
The under-five and maternal mortality rates are much higher in the Loreto Region of the Amazon (64/1,000 and 191.7/100,000 respectively), compared with the national average (25/1,000 and 93/100,000 respectively).
The Mama River Program trained 84 community agents (midwives, community mobilizers and health promoters) from remote rural areas in the Peruvian Amazon basin to use smartphones to collect and send information of pregnant women and newborns from their community to a medical ship, and to the health posts of the Ministry of Health (MOH).
This information was used to program antenatal care visits (ANC) and to facilitate the issue of national ID cards that grant access to governmental social services.
Community agents were also trained to send alerts to the medical vessel and the MOH whenever a high-risk pregnancy was identified and when a birth occurred.
The project provided the community agents with the Mama River Kit, which included a smartphone (with the Open Data Kit application for reporting health data) and a solar panel, a clean delivery kit that included two pairs of surgical gloves, gauze, a small scalpel, umbilical cord clamp, alcohol, hand sanitizer (for home deliveries) and pregnancy tests.
The project was conducted in 13 communities in the Parinari district within the Loreto Region.
The results of the project demonstrated the feasibility of training community agents to improve maternal and newborn outcomes in the Peruvian Amazon.
Of the 799 women surveyed, a total of 132 were pregnant at baseline or became pregnant during the project.
After the implementation of the Mama River program, the percentage of pregnant women who had their ANC during the first trimester tripled from 33.3% to 96.1%.
Results also showed a significant increase in the percentage of pregnant women who had six or more ANC (from 70.6% to 96.1%) and there was a noted increase in the percentage of women (from 17.1% to 35.3%) who delivered at the health post or medical ship.
There was also a significant decrease in the time taken for the newborns to get their ID cards, from 120 to 30 days.
Overall results indicated that the Mama River Program was able to avert 10 neonatal and 10 maternal deaths from hemorrhage, hypertension, complicated urinary tract infection, malaria and HIV.
The project team intends to apply for Transition To Scale (TTS) funding and will use the ‘Alliance business model’ to scale the innovation.