Project Lead(s): Antonia Arnaert
Burkina Faso is one of the world’s poorest countries. Despite free prenatal care, access to care remains an issue for rural women, as this often means walking for an entire day through harsh conditions. As a consequence, nearly 70 percent of expectant mothers receive only 1 of the 4 recommended visits, putting themselves and their babies at risk.
This project aims to provide rural expectant mothers with convenient access to a nurse without the need for travel by using technology to improve communication between rural community health workers and nurses. Community health workers often work in isolation and without ready access to nurses’ expertise. The project will use an mHealth application accessible on an iPad to facilitate this communication and make interactions faster and easier. This technology gives nurses access to health information entered by the community health workers in real-time, facilitating timely intervention and mentorship when required. It also enables video conferencing between nurses in the clinic with community health workers and pregnant mothers in the villages.
The juxtaposition of telecommunications technology, public-private partnership and process innovation will create an empowering environment for rural women and serve as a model that can be expanded beyond pregnancy and to isolated communities globally. The initiative has the confirmed backing and political support from local, regional and ministerial health authorities, buy-in from industry, and access to data management software, which are essential for future scaling-up.