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Let's get DADs on board!

In low income countries, men are less involved in their wives pregnancies. They are usually left out as pregnancy and childbirth are considered "a woman thing". It's important that men understand their role as a father right from conception of the child. This means they must be educated about the highs and lows of pregnancy, in order to make informed decisions in case of an emergency, or otherwise.

Photo of Priyanka Kodikal
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This concept is built upon multiple concepts, loads of optimism, and my belief that anything is possible.

1. Inform:
Hold a special information hour for "dad to be" at maternity camps. Walk dad through the pregnancy cycle.

2. Educate:
The best way to educate in low literacy areas, is to communicate through pictures. Give dad a "happy family handbook", which contains weekly pregnancy illustrations showing the baby's development. This will keep dad involved and engaged throughout the pregnancy term. It helps dad visualize how his baby is growing; how big or small she is; or who does she look like :). This could also help dad build a stronger bond with the baby and mom.

The handbook would also contain little "smilies" that depict how mom may feel at different stages in her pregnancy. Happy, sad, etc.... It's easier than explaining hormonal changes. This way, he knows what to expect, and why she feels that way.

3. Communication - A simple mobile phone.
Give dad a simple mobile phone to get help in an emergency. The phone would have only three keys: Emergency, Mom, and Baby. Each device has a unique Id that is linked with the name, address, and pregnancy info of the family. When dad /mom calls, the receiver can immediately pull up their information. Each key calls a different number.
Examples: Mom is beginning to have contractions - call"MOM" - call goes to a community midwife; if unavailable, redirects to the closest health care center.
Baby is not moving - call"EMERGENCY" - help will be on the way
Postnatal - new born is ill - call"BABY" - call goes to a community midwife; if unavailable, redirects to a doctor volunteering in the area.

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

Computers and a database to track calls and pull up information. A simple hand-held device Technology to redirect calls.

How could this work in a low-literacy context?

The pregnancy hand book contains illustrations, so no reading is required. The phone has only three clearly marked keys, so no number dialing is required.

Which partners could help realise and deliver this solution?

  • Oxfam
  • Nokia
  • Mobile operators
  • NGOs
  • Government


Join the conversation:

Photo of Meena Kadri

Welcome onboard Priyanka – you're certainly off to a strong start – and we're loving your optimism and belief that anything is possible!

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