September 30, 2014

Maternal, infant mortality: Mobile Midwife, Dial-a-Doctor to the rescue

Maternal, infant mortality:  Mobile Midwife, Dial-a-Doctor to the rescue

By Chioma Obinna

As part of efforts to reduce infant and maternal mortality rates in Nigeria, communications services provider, Airtel Nigeria, has unveiled innovative mobile health services dubbed Mobile Midwife and Dial-a-Doctor.

File photo: Surgeons at work

File photo: Surgeons at work

Mobile Midwife is a tailored mobile service designed to provide vital healthcare and nutrition information while the Dial-A-Doctor service, provides real-time help to pregnant women, nursing mothers and mothers with children under five years of age.

A World Health Organisation, WHO, report, classifies Nigeria as one of the 10 countries contributing about 60 per cent of the world’s maternal mortality burden.

Chief Commercial Officer, Airtel, Mr. Maurice Newa said the Insurance services launched in partnership with Grameen Foundation and VAS2nets Technologies Limited also offer unhindered access to adequate healthcare services and medical advisories to the target group.

Mobile Midwife service comes in two variants – Pre-natal services and new born/mother services, both services aimed at improving antenatal seeking behaviour of pregnant women and access to validated health and nutrition information.

Newa said the Dial-a-Doctor service offers subscribers first-hand opportunity to speak to a doctor by dialling 67777 at N30 per minute.

“To subscribe and register for the Mobile Midwife pre-natal services, customers are expected to dial 1561. Upon registration, subscribers receive calls once a week, with information tailored to their stage of pregnancy. They can also call in and speak to experienced medical personnel at any time. “For newborn/mother services, customers are required to dial 1561 to listen to the voice prompt and register for the service. Upon registration, subscribers will receive information, at frequent intervals, via IVR, throughout the first year of the child’s life.

The Mobile Midwife subscription service is billed at N30 per week. Subscribers are notified every day for the last two days before expiration of their subscription. Customers registered can also dial 1561 to speak directly with a doctor at N50 per minute at any time and on any day of the week.

Representative of Save 1 Million Lives, Federal Ministry of Health, Seyi Ibidapo Obe said the programme will empower Nigerian women with necessary health information during pregnancy.

Claire Sibthorpe, Director of the GSMA Connected Women Programme, said the initiative will create social impact by providing medically-proven, locally relevant health information to pregnant women and nursing mothers in Nigeria.

“Getting behavioural change information into the hands of vulnerable women and providing access to medical and emotional advice for men and women can help build the Nigeria we want. Dial-A-Doctor and Mobile Midwife is timely and will help a great deal,” Chief Executive of VAS2Nets Technologies Ltd, Mr. Ayo Stuffman.