Enhancing survival of high-risk neonates in rural south AsiaBy MPower
The mCARE project has been developed through a partnership between Bangladesh-based mPower Social Enterprises and Johns Hopkins University, Maryland. The WHO-backed system aims to help mother and child in the immediate postpartum neonatal period, when the infant is most at risk.
In Bangladesh’s rural northwest, over 80% of mothers give birth at home. In cases of premature birth, infection or for emergency help, these women are dependent on quickly receiving skilled medical attention. It’s essential that postpartum issues are dealt with urgently, and that advice is given to mothers to avoid further complications.
An early 2012 survey in the area revealed that over 70% of homes have access to a mobile phone, and that half of women in need will use a phone to seek help. mCARE is a network that builds on this access, linking pregnant women and new mothers with community health workers. Information and support is given over the phone, and emergency mobilisation is made possible even in rural areas.
mCARE has now been approved by the Bangladeshi Ministry of Health to carry out studies, and the project is starting with 1,600 pregnant women in the rural Gaibdandha district. Further to the medical interventions that mCARE makes possible, the project will also register births through active involvement with health workers and mothers – overall seeking to improve the chances of infant survival in resource-poor locations.
mCARE is funded through the UBS Optimus Foundation, and builds on work performed in Bangladesh through Johns Hopkins’ JiVitA research project. Take a look at the website for more information.
Image 'Eternal Love' courtesy of MD. Hasibul Haque Sakib.
Last updated: 18th of September, 2015