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Postnatal Care Package - Improved Stove, Safe Water Solution

Having your first baby brings about a lot of change. It could be a good opportunity to introduce healthier behaviors. Moms who go get prenatal check-ups will be entered into a lottery to win an improved cook stove and water filter. All moms going to prenatal clinics can buy the stove and filter for a discounted price. The chance for 1 out of 20 moms to win these products for free may encourage moms to seek care from clinicians or midwives when they otherwise may only see them at delivery. Regular check ups before delivery can improve care for mom and baby. The motivation to care for a new baby may encourage mom to treat her family's water and use a smokeless stove.

Photo of Jessica Vechakul
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Smoke inhalation from the traditional 3 stone cooking fire increases the risks of getting respiratory illnesses, which is one of the leading causes of death for children under 5. Women with babies on their backs and young children who must always be at their mother's side are at the highest risk because they spend hours daily next to cooking fires. Waterborne diseases are also a leading cause of death for children under 5.

It has been hard to introduce improved cookstoves that reduce smoke and fuel consumption and water treatment technologies like filters, partially because it is hard to promote behavior change. Behavior change occurs more easily when context is changed and new habits are formed. Having your 1st baby is such a time of drastic change and may be a good opportunity to teach moms new habits. Caring for a new baby may be associated with treating your water and using your improved stove. When baby cries, it may be a reminder to put water into the water filter or always drink clean water.

Improved stoves can also save mom money and time because they are more fuel efficient so mom does not have to spend as much time gathering wood or as much money buying it, and can devote more time to caring for her new child. Drinking clean water will reduce her healthcare costs of having to buy oral rehydration salts for diarrhea and more severe diseases.

The cookstove and water filter are one time purchases, and do not require additional monetary investments. Clay water filters like those made by Potters for Peace will have to be scrubbed clean regularly, and do not need to be replaced unless they are dropped and crack.

Many moms do not seek prenatal care and often the first time they see a midwife or clinician is when they are giving birth. Encouraging moms to seek prenatal care may provide opportunities for healthcare personnel to educate her about how to take better care of herself during pregnancy and her child after birth.

Incentives like the chance to win a free cookstove and water filter, or being able to buy these products at a subsidized cost during prenatal visits may encourage moms to develop a relationship with their healthcare provider.

Mobile phones may be used to advertise this opportunity. Cell phone numbers may be the means to enter moms into the lottery. Sponsoring organizations may also send money via M-Pesa to give moms transport money to go to the clinic.

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

M-Pesa regular mobile phones

How could this work in a low-literacy context?

Education will happen in person so literacy is not a barrier.

Which partners could help realise and deliver this solution?

  • Oxfam
  • Nokia
  • Mobile operators
  • NGOs
  • Government


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Photo of Paul Wood

correction* objects not being free is important but discounted, but I guess if its a lottery that makes for less jealousy in the area.

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