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Awareness and education programs to build a better communitarian work.

In low-income countries, maternal health is not an isolate issue, it can involve: lack of education, self-careless, bad nutrition, poor abilities to communicate and low accessibility to health system. So, the core of the solution could be awareness and education in order that moms-to-be, midwives, health system and the whole community work together to improve their condition. This proposal is kind of wrap-up from different concepts proposed before that can work together and focused on rural areas.

Photo of Tania Jiménez
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How does it work?

1. Field researches to well know the real needs of the community (rural, surrounding cities or urban, resources, spoken languages, cultural organization, religious beliefs, etc.).

2. Based on the results of the research, create parallel programs in order to make a stronger and more auto sufficient community. Programs must be customized to suit specific needs: 1) make women more aware in birth control, responsibilities of having a baby, how to self-care when pregnant and after child birth, what to eat, who to call in case of emergency, etc.; 2) voluntary recruitment of more women to become midwives; 3) teach people how to grow a community garden, organize communitarian kitchens, teach people how to produce fortified yogurt, etc.; 4) organize a communitarian transportation network to get medical supplies and to be called in case of emergency.

3. Organization is essential. Programs can start within micro organizations. For example, in a rural area, there are five midwives. Each midwife is in contact with ten moms-to-be in her community and she is also in communication with a nurse or a doctor from a health care facility. She supports women and they have informal meetings to talk about their pregnancy or their experiences as new moms. When the midwife detects a problem, she contacts the nurse/doctor to know what to do. The nurse/doctor is in contact with ten midwives. Once a month, a doctor visits the community to checkup women and children’s health.

Doctors from surrounding cities are also in contact with doctors in bigger cities (as in the Decentralized health care system proposed by Sarah).

4. At the same time, other projects are growing: families learn how to work together to produce food; a group of people run a small drugstore; another group is responsible of going to the city to pick up supplies, bottled water, etc.

What is the minimum level of mobile technology needed for this concept?

Basic mobile phones (to be used by the community)
iPads and/or laptops (support for volunteers and instructors from NGOs & Oxfam)

How could this work in a low-literacy context?

The key for success is to create a confident relationship between members of the community themselves and to the "support staff" members. Participation of interpreters is a must, for language issues and to better understand the cultural context.

Which partners could help realise and deliver this solution?

  • Oxfam
  • Nokia
  • Mobile operators
  • NGOs
  • Government


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Photo of Raja

I thought point 3 (credit to Sara and Tania) was great and something that is happening in some developing countries already in some capacity- doctors and interns as part of training are required to go into villages to do checkups but also provide supplies and education. They have more of a cultural context also.

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