Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia

Mobilizing Outreach, Technology, Healthcare, Education to ImpRove Maternal/Child Heath (MOTHER)

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To learn more about – or provide significant funding to – this project, please contact Lever for Change.

Project Summary

The World Health Organization estimates that 303,000 women, 99% of whom were in low and middle-income countries (LMICs), died in 2015 from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. LMIC women are significantly less likely to receive prenatal care or to have a trained provider present during delivery than higher wealth country women. Major determinants of preventable death include insufficient numbers of healthcare providers, inadequate provider training and skill, and low health literacy in the target population. Project MOTHER will utilize Cisco innovations, UVA educational programs, Swinfen volunteer healthcare providers, and PROSAMI’s nurse-midwife training model and community health worker program to:1) create effective prenatal/perinatal care in LMICs; 2) improve local healthcare workforce capacity through education and consultation from international specialists; 3) provide patients with education and support to improve the health of themselves, their families, and communities; and 4) empower local communities to create and sustain positive population health outcomes.

Problem Statement

The World Health Organization estimates that 303,000 women, 99% of whom were in low and middle-income countries (LMICs), died in 2015 from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. LMIC women are significantly less likely to receive prenatal care or to have a trained provider present during delivery than other women. Children in LMICs are almost 13 times more likely to die before their 5th birthday than children in the wealthiest countries. They often succumb to preventable and/or treatable conditions, including pre-term complications among women (e.g. respiratory distress or dehydration) that are treatable during prenatal care. In places like the DRC and Bangladeshi refugee camps, infectious disease further devastates the most vulnerable. The major driver in this is access to quality healthcare. While local cultures and customs can unintentionally create barriers to care in LMICs, access to care tends to be most limited by: 1) insufficient numbers of healthcare providers; 2) inadequate provider training and skills; 3) limited health literacy and education among the population; and 4) insufficient local infrastructures, including a lack of a reliable, affordable source of power and internet connectivity. Local capacity to overcome these issues has been stymied by endemic poverty and the upheaval of conflict.While LMICs are low-resourced in economic, infrastructure, and workforce terms, they are resource-rich in terms of their people. Local providers have the passion to provide high quality care. Community members are eager to create long-lasting change within their communities. Given adequate training, support, and opportunity they will do so.

Solution Overview

Access to quality healthcare significantly reduces the rates of maternal and child mortality. Our solution takes disparate, demonstrated programs and interweaves them with technological innovations to create a cohesive, locally-driven system of care in LMICs for pregnant women and new mothers. Project MOTHER 1) provides training to local nurses to raise their training level to nurse-midwife; 2) provides training for local women to serve as community health workers; 3) modifies existing provider prenatal care education for cultural competence; 4) connects providers with teleconsults; 5) creates a global telehealth and education platform designed to overcome barriers; 6) deploys telehealth apps that are inclusive and accessible; and 7) engages women in prenatal/perinatal care and community health while promoting consistent immunization, infection control, and nutrition.In the first two years of Project MOTHER, impact will be determined by the numbers of: providers and community members who receive training and improve knowledge; women who engage in prenatal care; and women who give birth with a qualified professional in attendance. The primary outcomes are to increase the number of qualified healthcare providers and improve the quality of care. Over five years, the rates of maternal and child mortality will be reduced in the target communities. While the program will have a deep and intense impact on target communities, it can be replicated for global impact. The immediate beneficiaries are pregnant women and their infants. Empowering and educating women on basic health practices will have a positive effect throughout the community and improve overall population health.

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Project Funders

  • Verizon

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