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Stories of Change: How Medic Mobile is improving antenatal care in remote communities

Author: Jill Shah, Medic Mobile
Published Date: 5 April 2016

At SIX we think it is important to tell stories where social innovation has impacted people’s lives for the better. Our Stories of Change series tells you the stories that inspire us from around the world.

As a nonprofit technology company, Medic Mobile aims to improve health in hard-to-reach communities by designing and building tools that help community health workers, clinics, and families coordinate to deliver and access quality healthcare.

In particular, improving maternal and child health remains a massive, global challenge in the fight for global health equity. Access to basic healthcare services can have significant effects on maternal and infant mortality rates. Today, health workers use Medic Mobile to register every pregnancy in their communities, automatically schedule reminders about care visits, report danger signs to clinical teams, and coordinate with clinics to ensure delivery in facilities with skilled birth attendants.

For example, working in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Kilifi Kids in Kilifi County, Kenya, Medic Mobile has trained over 450 CHWs to use basic cell phones to register women as soon as they become pregnant. The health workers register the expectant mother’s name, age, and estimated due date and send this information to a web application, hosted on computers at local clinics. Medic Mobile’s system then schedules appointments and sends automated text messages to the health workers, prompting them to visit the homes of expectant mothers to tell them about their appointments. These interventions have immediate benefits, including more than doubling the number of facility-based births from 20 to 48 during the pilot of the program.

A community health worker with Kilifi Kids visits a pregnant patient in Kenya. Kilifi Kid’s CHWs are using Medic Mobile tools to register pregnant women and provide them with antenatal care.

To date, Medic’s tools have been used by over 10,000 community health workers across 23 countries. Health workers use these tools not just for antenatal care coordination, but also for childhood immunizations tracking, stock monitoring, and disease surveillance. We work in collaboration with partners at all levels of the healthcare system, including community health workers, NGOs, clinics and hospitals, ministries of health, and international agencies. Our tools are designed with the user at heart of everything we do, and our work is grounded in the mindset and methodology of human-centered design (HCD).

Last year, we deepened our commitment to serve vulnerable communities in difficult environments with the right tools: we built the mobile app that health workers deserve.

The Medic Mobile for Android app allows for more complex workflows and supportive management of a CHW system. It provides an automated, prioritized list of upcoming tasks, and community health workers are guided through actions — such as screening for high-risk pregnancies or diagnosing and providing treatments for children. It also shows progress towards their goals, and allows remote health workers to communicate with contacts and central support teams.