Sometime this month, Africans at Microsoft voted cipher256 as the Africa Winners of the Imagine Cup. This was announced at the second Annual Africans at Microsoft Business Forum held on September 15th at the Microsoft Campus in Redmond, Washington, USA. Among the key note speakers was Erik Hersman, founder of iHub and co-creator of Ushaidi.
The team had an interview with Africa Talent Bank (ATB) yesterday. Publication of the interview will be soon. Will keep you posted. Thanks to Miriam Mukasa (UK) and Julius Kanyi (Kenya) for the support, interest and making it happen.
Imagine this scenario. Our mother, say in a remote area in South Sudan, has just had a successful delivery thanks to proper antenatal care courtesy of WinSenga and much more efficient care during labour using mParto. But she may not know that she has to attend Post Natal Care (PNC) or if she does, it is difficult for her doctor to remind her and/or track her. We are working on something to help her. It will be called WinSenga Plus – a PNC solution.
This will sound cliche but watch this space.
In Uganda alone, less than 40% of mothers make the recommended minimum 4 antenatal visits. The reasons range from long distances to health facilities to lack of effective equipment at the facilities to the alarming medical human resource gap. The goal of WinSenga is to save lives through early detection of preventable complications during pregnancy and those that may later arise during childbirth. It does so by allowing high risk mothers in rural areas to access antenatal care.
We, realized however, that the same mothers we have saved using WinSenga, could potentially face other complications during the process of birth itself. We needed a way to help improve the quality of care and service delivered during childbirth. Enter mParto, a digitized/mobile partograph.
The partograph is a simple single page monitoring tool for the first stage of labor. The tool allows the skilled birth attendant to monitor the progress of labor, the mother and the fetus, hour by hour and to have a clear means of tracking whether labor is obstructed–with ‘alert’ and ‘action’ lines signaling when a labor has become complicated. The tool was modified by the WHO and reintroduced in a simpler form. Nevertheless, its use is not consistent and training with the partogram is sporadic in many settings. – http://maternova.net/health-innovations/who-modified-partograph
The WHO-modified ‘simpler form’ looks like this:
Given the human resource gap, the nature of use (plotting and timing manually) and it being paper-based, mParto presents a faster, easier and efficient way of monitoring the mother and child during labour and childbirth.
Here’s the video we submitted as part of our application for the Imagine Cup Grants program.
For those who may have missed the news. We failed to travel to Sydney, Australia to represent East and Southern Africa. However, that did not deter us. We beat the odds to qualify for round two (top 20 out of 72 teams). This is what our presentation was like (note: the difficulty in convincing all the judges of the authenticity and working state of our solution) – video courtesy of itwebafrica:
It has been a long, tedious and expensive journey but we are still walking that road. And will continue till we achieve our dream – saving the lives of mothers through low-cost technology alternatives. Needless say, we cannot walk it alone.
A while back, the team met with Miss Carmen Fernandez of ACRA – Cooperazione Rurale in Africa e America Latina, an Italian-based non-governmental, non-profit, secular and independent organization. ACRA supports social ventures that possess the potential to change particularly rural lives from all over the world especially in Africa and Latin America.
Among the things we discussed include how to apply for ACRA loans and equity programmes and the qualifications necessary.
We of course also showed her the ingenuity behind WinSenga.
Continuing the journey.