Expectant moms need all the support they can get.
Early antenatal visits are vital – and all women should visit a health facility at least once during the first trimester of pregnancy. Physical and mental health screening during this period enables early detection of dangerous conditions, giving healthcare practitioners their best chance at intervention.
But only half of all expectant mothers in South Africa visit antenatal clinics within the first half of pregnancy. This has long term negative effects for both moms and babies. It’s crucial that early antenatal bookings are increased and that all pregnant women get access to the full suite of antenatal care on offer.
iMobiMaMa brings antenatal care directly to women in their communities. The mobile kiosk (mKit) provides basic care to pregnant woman at point of contact, and the IT platform connects them to clinic services. Because iMobiMaMa is flexible, private, affordable and convenient, it mitigates many of the factors which prevent women from getting good antenatal care, especially in poor and remote communities.
A further innovation lies in the way it focuses on brain development from conception (as opposed to just from birth). Conditions such as hypertension, HIV, syphilis, as well as harmful behaviors like drug and alcohol addiction, have long-lasting neurological effects on the developing foetus.
iMobiMaMa is also intended to be a vehicle for empowering women entrepreneurs. The community-based vendors facilitating on-the-ground interactions with an mKit are supported centrally by health professionals (at a central hub – mHub), who connect the users to an appropriate health facility when necessary. The kiosks have been designed to allow vendors to add the sales of maternity and baby products to their service offering.
iMobiMaMa lightens the burden on overstretched public health services, and brings crucial antenatal care to marginalized communities.
Quality antenatal care has long-term positive benefits for both mother and child, and iMobiMaMa makes it easier to provide it to the people who need it most.
The project team
Dr. Carol Thomas is a specialist obstetrician and gynaecologist. She has been a women’s health activist since the 1980s. The establishment of theWomanSpace, which administers specialist Women’s Health Care, is her most recent venture and provides the vehicle for the development of iMobiMaMa.