Opportunity Area

How might we improve demand and access to essential maternal health medicines & supplies in Uganda??

The proposed title of your idea

MaHaB ( Mama Help after Birth)

Please describe your idea.

MaHaB provides mothers(nakaweres), a toll free number to call & text, to receive postpartum care and services in rural areas.

What problem does your idea solve in the market?

Even after successful childbirth, mothers remain at risk to postpartum problems. Unfortunately, most women in Uganda are discharged (less than 24 hours after delivery) back to the community and remain out of reach of any skilled nursing center for the remaining postpartum period. 50% of maternal and 40% of newborn deaths occur within the first 24 hours after delivery. Further more, only 15% of mothers access postnatal care in Uganda. This creates a gap between health centers and the mothers making access to and demand for essential maternal health medicines & supplies low.

Briefly explain how you identified the need or opportunity

During our internship program in Mukono district, we met Mariam, 24 years old, married with 3 children. Mariam had a foul smell and was seclusive and depressed. She mentioned that her husband could not afford a longer stay at the health center so she left few hours after delivery. Mariam was suffering from an obstetric fistula but didn’t know what to do or who to ask. Evidence from a project on strengthening community health workers(CHWs) to improve coverage of health care for the underserved community (see attached file) supports the use of CHWs as effective in bridging the gap between health centers and the community.

Who are the beneficiaries of your solution and how will they benefit?

The beneficiaries are mothers in the postpartum period. Care in the period following birth is critical for survival and to the future of mothers and newborn babies. The mothers will attain a reliable, easy to use means to connect with care from a nearby health center. The mother will receive; • Quick diagnosis and treatment of common simple postnatal and neonatal illnesses • Assistance with information on postpartum care • Fast response support in emergencies • Counseling and moral support

Why are you convinced your solution will solve the problem?

The biggest barrier to access of postpartum care for mothers is distance to the health centers. Also lack of knowledge on postpartum illnesses and support during the postpartum period are cited as factors leading to low demand for postnatal drugs. MaHaB provides a package that supports a mother through the postpartum period. MaHaB package includes information on solutions for postpartum problems, informative information and transport to the facility in case of obstetric emergencies to the mother

What other initiatives like yours exist out there? How will you differentiate your solution?

SMS maama provides pregnant women with information via SMS and connects these women to midwives while MaHaB is to sustain a reliable and sustainable connection between the health center and a mother in the postnatal period. The project is a community-based intervention that depends on selected CHWs supporting the mother through the postnatal period. The project’s aim is to see that mothers get immediate help on post natal complications before they become severe, thereby reducing cases of morbidity and mortality arising and related to birth. Village Health Teams (VHTs) serve as the primary, village-level health contact for all villages in Uganda, the equivalent of a low-level health center laying basic health information to their neighbors, as well as pointing villagers to the right locations for various levels of health care. MaHaB involves selected VHTs to focus on solving postnatal problems. MaHaB will partner and work with health centers, VHTs and a telecom company

What have you done up-to date to test your idea with potential users? What learnings do you have to share?

MaHaB has shared our idea with a few stakeholders like the Nakaweres(mothers who have given birth to babies), health workers,VHTs, and fistula victims. concerns were: will MaHaB be private and confidential?, Will it provide fast and immediate response in emergency cases?, one of the women was excited to be saved of the long distances to the health center, she exclaimed that MaHaB was like having a lady friend to ask about any question of being a new mother. Evidence from a project on strengthening community health workers(CHWs) to improve coverage of health care for the underserved community (see attached file) supports the use of CHWs as effective in bridging the gap between health centers and the community. Mobile technology has been used in areas of maternal health by initiatives such as Rapid SMS launched in 2009 in Rwanda.the program has been credited with having an essential impact on reducing the number of maternal deaths. The idea is only using existing health structures.

How will you financially sustain your business?

MaHaB gives a package that provides; PNC information, 1 PNC visit per week, transport in case of obstetric emergencies, counseling and moral support to all mother enrolled for MaHaB (enrollement can be made during pregnancy, after birth and at health center) at 12,000 Ugandan shillings for 4 weeks. Mothers who haven’t enrolled for the MaHaB package can get any of the services at a fee depending on which service. We shall partner with other maternal health avenues to brand ourselves and increase our coverage (more clients) MaHaB will also continue to seek more funding from NGO's and the government to improve the prototype and incorporate better designs. MaHaB platform will be used to provide information on maternal health for simple surveys within the communities . this information will act as a source of revenue.

Please share a link to a 3 minute online video that best describes your idea and team

N/A

Please tell us about each founder and their roles on the team. How do you know your founders and how long have you worked together?

Ms. Lubega Grace Biyinzika: Student of Environmental Health. Winner of prize in international girls health challenge from University of Korea, winner of international essay writing competition on CHW visions by World Vision, chair of the 14th Annual scientific conference on emerging and re-emerging diseases by MUEHSA and MakSPH. Team leader Mr. Muwonge Tonny: student at Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH). Mr. Semukuye Brian: Student of information technology at Makerere University. Information technology guide

Please tell us about other team members that are not cofounders.

Dr. David Musoke (MPH, PHD); researcher and senior lecturer at MakSPH. He has studied and done projects on CHW strengthening. Mr. Musaazi Ignatiusofloyola: student of BCOM at Kyambogo university Ms. Gonza Joviah; student of Environmental Health, Winner of prize in international girls health.

Which members of your team will attend the program full-time?

Mr.Muwonge Tonny Mr.Semukuye Brian Ms.Lubega Grace Biyinzika

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  • Lubega Grace
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