In recent years, Bangladesh has realized the need to invest in midwifery in order to drive down maternity and infant mortality rate. Organizations such as WHO and DFID are already implementing measures to increase the supply of midwives. However, we need to capitalize on providing an easy solution for Bengali women to connect with midwives.
Midwives are important to increasing the chance of a successful pregnancy. Over 71% of women in Bangladesh give birth at home while only 36% have access to a midwife. Midwives can prevent fatalities when issues such as birth asphyxia (accountable for 50% of infant deaths in the neonatal period) and meningitis/sepsis (accountable for 48% infant deaths in the late neonatal period). It is calculated that in the 30 year career span of a midwife, they can save at least 36,178 lives, proving their worth to society.
We came up with Dhatri, a simple SMS-based tool aimed to reduce the maternal and infant deaths that occur during and after pregnancy. Dhatri will educate women on what to expect when they're expecting, establish a relationship with the midwife and community, exemplifies an intuitive user experience for illiterate women, and is accessible to anyone regardless of whether they are registered.
Dhatri features seamless registration, enabling our tool to be easy to use. We chose to use a simple speech-to-text converter so that women do not need to rely on text-heavy conversations. This allows for increased comprehension. Knowledge is accessible to anyone and any woman can receive answers to any concerns they may have during their pregnancy, such as, "Is it okay if I'm bleeding?" or "Is it okay for me to have sex?". Additionally, Dhatri's answers are provided without the need for a dedicated operator, increasing privacy related to the nature of the questions. Answers are provided in an audio format to address the literacy issue.
Weekly reminders are personalized to the woman's progress in her pregnancy. Depending on how far along she is, nutrition information, symptoms, and warning signs are tailored to suit the expecting mother's needs. These weekly reminders are also sent in an audio format.
One of the competitive advantages that Dhatri also has is improving the access to a midwife. Appointments are easily set up between the expecting mothers and midwives, increasing the accessibility of midwife services.
Finally, the greatest result that we hope will arise from interacting with Dhatri is the formation of lasting and meaningful relationships. Midwives will support Bengali women and empower them with the knowledge, guidance, and support they need to have a successful pregnancy, resulting in drastically reducing the maternal and infant deaths that occur.
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