The Use of Technology to Fight Maternal Mortality and Morbidity

Author: Siva Sainath Reddy Bandi

Maternal mortality and morbidity are huge issues prevalent in growing and developed countries. As per the third sustainable development goal of good health and well being, the world should aim to reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030. To reach this goal many healthcare and tech-based companies are creating innovative solutions that are using the power of technology to address this issue. Let’s look at these solutions, their implementation, financial constraints and their potential to reach wide adoption. 

In South Africa, an SMS-based system called MomConnect is being used to access better care by registering pregnancies to a national database, which sends out informative messages, allowing the South African healthcare system to respond to the actual needs of the women. In countries where the reach is limited, this type of SMS based system can be implemented to provide better healthcare while also being very cost-effective. 

Another technological initiative being run by the Maternity Foundation provides a free application known as Safe Delivery App, a mobile health training tool that reaches out to remote healthcare workers to train them in taking care of emergencies during childbirth. As the accessibility of technology has improved, this solution can be used to better prepare healthcare workers with quality training and assistance. Preparing healthcare workers will put medical systems at a significant advantage in being able to handle maternity-related issues. 

During childbirth a mother loses a lot of blood, she needs to be often transferred to a bigger medical facility after being stabilized. Blood has to be delivered as soon as possible so that the mother can be saved. To tackle this issue in Botswana the support from the United Nations drones are being used to transport blood so that the patient can be stabilized. As a result, the blood is able to be transported to areas that are often unable to access this vital resource during delivery. The utilization of drones to improve access to blood is expected to transform the healthcare system in Botswana. In addition, this proven technology can be implemented in other countries with similar issues. Its cost-effectiveness is an added advantage that allows this innovation to expand easily. With support from the United Nations and the wider adoption of technology, this solution creates real-world impact during emergencies. 

Tracking and monitoring mothers with any complications during pregnancies allow for doctors to assess the risk and problems that might occur during childbirth, while also predicting or recognizing any issues that might occur after or before childbirth. For example, artificial intelligence-based technology is able to use algorithms to find issues and alert doctors in real-time. Studies indicate that an increasing number of pregnant women have conditions such as hypertension or cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, tracking and monitoring based technology can greatly help in solving the problems which pregnant women often face. 

Because countries around the world are reshaping their healthcare systems in the wake of COVID-19, now is the right time to invest in and implement innovative tech-based solutions that empower and support mothers. Technology will be key to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 set out by the United Nations.


Sources

https://www.devex.com/news/tackling-the-age-old-problem-of-maternal-mortality-through-modern-technology-88874

https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/maternal-mortality/pregnancy-mortality-surveillance-system.htm

https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/05/1092512.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/257787727_Medical_devices_for_pregnancy_and_childbirth_in_the_developing_world

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33451620/

https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-030-47679-3_18

https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/diagnostics/technology-enabled-solutions-can-help-reduce-preventable-maternal-and-neonatal-deaths/76039580

https://www2.deloitte.com/global/en/pages/life-sciences-and-healthcare/articles/global-health-care-sector-outlook.html

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