Every pregnant woman has the right to a healthy pregnancy and birth, but many women lack access to the information they need, and knowledge about when to seek medical help. Is it possible that mobile phones can help? With the expansion of mobile technologies, there are new and exciting opportunities to increase access to life-saving health information.
Hesperian Health Guides, publisher of Where There Is No Doctor, has developed a mobile app to support community health workers, pregnant women and their families. The word ‘app’ is a short form of the word application. A mobile app is a programme specifically designed for a mobile phone.
The Safe Pregnancy and Birth app contains information on:
- how to stay healthy during pregnancy
- how to recognise danger signs during pregnancy, birth, and after birth
- what to do when a danger sign arises
- when to refer a woman to emergency care
- instructions for community health workers with step-by-step explanations such as ‘How to take blood pressure’, ‘How to treat someone in shock’ and ‘How to stop bleeding’.
This app is designed to help pregnant women, and the people who care for them, learn how to identify danger signs during pregnancy and birth, as well as life-saving actions that can be taken. The clear images and simple step-by-step instructions make it useful for a range of situations, for example:
- training health workers, or independent learning
- aiding communication between a health worker and a pregnant woman and her family
- helping guide someone through an emergency.
Safe Pregnancy and Birth can be used on any Android or iPhone, as well as online for those who do not have a smart phone. Hesperian is currently working to make the app available on lower-end phones, as well as in more languages. Like all Hesperian content online, it is available free of charge.
The app has been downloaded over 70,000 times in 179 countries, and recently won the ‘She Will Innovate’ competition hosted by Intel and Ashoka changemakers.