Numama provides better access to maternity care in Darok!


All the members on our team are passionate about the intersection of women's health issues and development work. Our backgrounds include international development work in Kenya, Rwanda, Benin, Guinea, Guatemala, and Chile on such issues as HIV/AIDS prevention, access to education, female empowerment, social entrepreneurship opportunities, extractive industries' social and environmental impacts, and resettlement compensation planning.

We're really excited about the increasing use of mobile technology in developing countries to further social justice and health initiatives.

What it does

Numama offers a SMS technology, an android app and an ambassador program.

With the SMS technology, illiterate women can easily enter a numerical code to receive immediate health assistance from a midwife or health representative, and ask for a mobile clinic to come bring her to the nearest health centre or maternity wing.

Our partners will train these women in how to use these codes with simple infographics that are designed for illiteracy.

The SMS technology is also connected with the Numama database that records all expectant mothers' information (with the mothers' consent) for future visits and more informed follow-ups.

The android app allows healthcare professionals to register the patients' information in the app and send the data to the Numama database.

Our go-to market strategy will include an ambassador program in which pregnant women in Narok region will be trained to become health care practitioners and educators as a sustainable empowerment strategy.

The data collected will be shared within the Numama system to inform other mothers. The data will also be used to generate analytics for provider networks and humanitarian agencies to improve their health care services and development projects.

How I built it

We identified illiterate pregnant women in the Narok county (in which the Baraka Health Centre operates) as our target market segment.

We first conducted a market analysis to identify if there was a gap in the market. According to the United Nations, 1 in 38 women die during childbirth. In the Narok county, only 1 in 5 women have assistance during childbirh. These deaths could be avoided with an SMS technology that provides them better access to health resources and services during their pregnancy.

We also conducted a market validation using the case study of Liga Inan program in Timor-Leste and the successful implementation of the TOTOHEALTH system around Nairobi.

Our developers used Twilio to design the SMS technology (compatible with USSD) and ready for deployment with mobile communications APIs (i.e. Africas Talking).

Challenges I ran into

Our biggest challenge was to plan and coordinate our implementation strategy on the ground while working remotely in Toronto.

And maybe lack of time/sleep ;)

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

Our mobile technology and database will lower hospital congestions, increase accessibility to health resources grow provider network's available support system, encourage women to be agents of health promotion (i.e. ambassador program

Our costing scheme was also already approved by Graham Ingokho.

What I learned

  • Designing mobile technologies in places with less developed infrastructures.
  • Thinking of technological obstacles (i.e. weak internet connection on the ground, SMS vs. MMS, old browsers)
  • Market of cell phone providers in Kenya
  • How to use Twilio and Firebase

What's next for Numama

  • Onboarding 68 000 women from the Narok county by 2017
  • Finalizing partnerships with health providers, foundations, NGOs.
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