This article/press release is Norwegian E-Health Research Center – read more
Notification and good advice can save the lives of mothers and infants.
If society facilitated healthy choices for individuals, the health and well-being of young and old alike could be enormously beneficial. Correct health information is also important for the fetus in the mother’s womb.
But how do women get information in countries where medical services are not available?
According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), about 800 women die each day due to pregnancy and childbirth. According to statistics, in 2017 she killed 295,000 women. They died from preventable and manageable causes such as bleeding, complicated births, and infections.
According to WHO statistics, 2.4 million children died in their first month of life in 2020. Statistics show that infant mortality rates are highest in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
conducted an international search
“Fortunately, there has been positive progress in recent years. Fewer women die and more babies survive in the mother’s womb, at birth and in the first few weeks of life. people are dying, and we have to contribute with new ideas and interventions here,” says Elvis Bosman.
He is a former master’s student at UiT The Arctic University of Norway and has conducted a systematic review of international research on mobile health solutions from 2010 to 2020.
Twenty-three studies were included, of which 16 were from African countries and 7 from South Asia.
Findings show that reminders and guidance via smartphones can lead to positive behavioral changes in pregnant women and mothers. It can also provide valuable training to healthcare workers.
These measures help reduce maternal and child mortality.
Health of all phones?
When smartphones hit the market, many were curious about how they could be used for health measures, including global health activism.
Mobile health solutions, m-health, are increasingly being used by people in the form of apps and registration of their information. Healthcare workers are also interested in this.
Improving the health of mothers and children around the world is a major challenge. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3 is to ensure health and well-being. Goals consist of sub-goals and some metrics.
Educated in informatics, public health, and e-health, Bosman delved deep into statistics.
“There are a lot of connections when you look at the indicators and how they affect each other. Maternal health, obstetric care and immunization are just as important as good information. There is training for health workers, and doctors and nurses should be placed where they are needed most,” he said.
SMS reminders in your native language
Developing countries do not have enough health workers to provide assistance and support to all citizens, so trained health workers are frequently mobile.
The advantage of apps and phone messages is that they are easy and cheap. With digital solutions, you don’t have to constantly travel to talk face-to-face with midwives and nurses.
“Take, for example, a study in Zanzibar in 2014. In Zanzibar, pregnant women received SMS reminders to undergo regular checkups at a health center. “This meant we could catch the danger signs in pregnancy more often and provide better follow-up,” says Bosman.
In a 2016 study in Ethiopia, researchers tested an app that made late pregnancy and childbirth safer. Healthcare workers were granted access to animated videos within the app that provided knowledge on neonatal resuscitation.
“New research on m-health is published every year. Authorities in many countries will be able to use the results in measures that promote health and survival,” says Bosman.
Need to solve privacy challenges
Gadgets in people’s pockets and purses can provide support and guidance. However, be careful when sending messages to patients or storing health data.
Mobile health solutions should be convenient, efficient and, above all, safe.
“Privacy is very important. Some of the studies I’ve looked at often don’t take this seriously. What about access control? Who in a healthcare facility can read patient information? People The same is true when you are at home,” says Bosman.
can be expensive
Another factor is cost. Pilot studies are often conducted by researchers who do not always analyze the costs of interventions.
“Conversely, people who want to try this technology could be given both a mobile phone and a prepaid subscription. No. Maybe they don’t even have internet or mobile data,” says Bosman.
There are also few studies on informal health information exchange, such as between patients and clinicians.
“It’s not documented anywhere, but we know it happens. A person takes a picture of something and sends it via WhatsApp or Messenger to a doctor for evaluation. Here There is a knowledge gap that needs to be filled: the use of technology influences people’s health behaviors,” he says.
Bosman et al. Health interventions to reduce maternal and child mortality in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia: A systematic literature review. The forefront of global women’s health, 2022. DOI: 10.3389/fgwh.2022.942146