How mobile phones are connecting high-risk pregnant women to the highest level of care
Most expectant mothers will use their mobile phones during their pregnancy; a photo of their bump, an app suggesting nursery must-haves, a ‘countdown to due date’ post on Facebook.
But for some women, their mobile phones don’t just make their pregnancy a bit easier or more fun, they make it possible.
Because currently across the world, 830 women die from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications every single day - 99% of whom are from growth geographies and poor and rural areas, areas where women either don’t have any maternal health services on offer or live miles away from where they are.
Logistics and finances mean it’s not possible to overcome this by building hundreds of new clinics or transporting hundreds of pregnant women for every pre-natal appointment, but breakthroughs in mobile technology and coverage mean there is another much simpler way - and it’s called Philips’ Mobile Obstetrics Monitoring (MOM) service.
Launched in 2015, the MOM service features two mobile phone apps, the first which allows midwives to collect vital measurement data such as weight, blood pressure and temperature, and sync it to the MOM web portal. The second lets doctors track this data and review a woman’s pregnancy condition, while specialists at regional primary care centers can also access the data via a MOM web portal to monitor women’s conditions and assess high-risk pregnancies via a dashboard interface.
Initially, MOM began with a one-year pilot program in collaboration with the Bunda Medical Center in Padang, Indonesia. The maternal mortality rate in Indonesia is among the highest in Southeast Asia, with 190 maternal deaths per 100,000 live birth, yet in the year-trial, MOM increased early detection of high-risk pregnancies three-fold, and not one single woman out of over 650 pregnancies enrolled in the pilot died from preventable causes related to pregnancy or childbirth.
With such manifest success, it was only a matter of time before the scheme spread; and in January, we witnessed the first full-scale commercial implementation of MOM, in West Sumatra, Indonesia. Five months later, in May, we received the highest commendation from the GBCHealth’s 2016 Business Action on Health Awards, an award set up to recognize the companies exemplifying innovation in the face of the world’s most important global health challenges.
It was a huge privilege and we know it represents a huge step forward, but we also know it’s just the beginning. While the MOM pilot showed on a small scale how important it is to have access to the right healthcare and the right technology at the right time, we need to get that on a bigger scale – we need to make sure very mother everywhere can give their unborn child the start in live they deserve.
CEO Philips Personal Health Solutions
Caroline joined Royal Philips in November 2008 as CEO Personal Care. Caroline was responsible for the global Personal Care business for 5 years until January 2014. Since then, Caroline has been working on the creation of a new business proposition for Philips, Personal Health Solutions. This new business area is at the core of Philips Strategy to deliver health technology innovation along the Health Continuum, in this case, with a focus on healthy living and disease prevention.
Caroline holds a bachelor's degree in Business Studies. She is a graduate of Harvard Business School Advanced Management Programme.
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