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Portable Maternal Health Video Library for Community Health Workers

Make a portable maternal health medical video library available to CHWs preloaded on mobile phones or on a SD card.

Photo of Avi Solomon
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The video library could include the most common maternal health scenarios encountered by CHWs in the developing world.
Divya Ramachandran has already done pioneering research on how to make the most effective pregnancy videos, let's get her onboard!:

Portable Maternal Health Video Library, a preliminary specification for a frugal implementation:

-Each maternal health videos will consist of a sequence of customized drawings with voiceovers in the local language. Each video episode should not exceed three minutes.

-The drawings for each video episode (based on the WHO Midwifery education modules will be produced by pregnant mothers or local artists at a grassroots comics workshop. See: for guidelines on how to do this. The episodes can be scripted in tandem with maternal health plays performed in each local community. The scripts can be recorded at the same workshops in the voice and language of the local mothers.

-Techsmith Camtasia or Adobe Captivate can be used to produce the videos. This will enable video interactivity.

-The videos will be distributed on SD cards, USB Flash Drives, DVDs, on dedicated YouTube and Vimeo channels or made available for free direct download on the Internet Archive. SD cards, USB Flash Drives or DVDs with the video content could be snail-mailed to all known CHWs in the field. Digital Green has valuable experience doing this:

-Content could be preloaded on phones (rather like the OLPC laptop) for immediate deployment by CHWs.

-The pregnant women and CHW will watch the videos together, share them with others and use them as a lauching pad for discussions concerning maternal health.

-Children should be involved in spreading the videos.

-The voiceovers can be podcast separately as mp3 files or accessed by pregnant mothers calling in to listen to them (selecting a topic will initiate a callback to the caller's phone). A short maternal health ditty can be made available for use as a ringtone.

-Let's get the wider visual thinking community ( and thought leaders involved: Dan Roam, Dave Gray, Don Moyer, Nigel Holmes, Robert Horn, etc.

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

Mobile phone with video playback capability

How could this work in a low-literacy context?

The videos could be developed in collaboration with local moms using the grassroots comics methodology. The videos could have voiceovers by moms in the local language. Content could be preloaded on phones (rather like the OLPC laptop) for immediate deployment by CHWs . SD cards with the video content could be snail-mailed to all known CHWs in the field.

Which partners could help realise and deliver this solution?

  • Oxfam
  • Nokia
  • Mobile operators
  • NGOs
  • Government
  • Other - Feel free to elaborate in your description of the concept

Concept Builds

Here are resources from a similar project led by Arturo Morosoff to provide videos on mobile phones to CHWs in Tanzania:

Virtual Team

Divya Ramachandran, Jessie Cutts, Mokeira Masita-Mwangi, Sydney Malawer, Dara Parker, Alejandro Correa, Aaron Stimpson, Ian Sullivan, Sarah Bird, Prabhas Pokharel MANY THANKS TO THE VIRTUAL TEAM FOR THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS TO THIS CONCEPT!

Evaluation results

8 evaluations so far

1. Does this concept have the potential to save lives related to maternal health in the poorest and most marginalized communities?

A great deal of potential - 44.4%

Some potential - 55.6%

Not a lot of potential - 0%

2. How realizable do you think this concept can be? Think about the real issues faced by low-income communities, such as literacy challenges, affordability of devices and tools, usage costs.

It's very realizable - 44.4%

There are some hurdles to realization - 44.4%

This concept is not realistic - 11.1%

3. How much does this concept leverage resources and partners in existing low-income communities? Thus enhancing positive aspects of the way things work in the community as opposed to taking away what is a valued way of working and living in the community.

This concept works harmoniously with existing resources and partners - 44.4%

This concept does not work against existing resources and partners - 33.3%

This concept conflicts with existing resources and partners - 22.2%

4. Can this concept become self-sustaining and even provide some livelihood value add to the community?

This concept could become a self-sustaining business for locals - 22.2%

This concept still needs some work before it is self-sustaining - 66.7%

This concept is not self-sustaining at all - 11.1%

5. Will this concept work in low-tech & low-connectivity environments?

This concept is very well suited to low-tech and low-connectivity environments - 55.6%

This concept needs to be evaluated for technology feasibility - 22.2%

This concept may be too high-tech for low-income communities - 22.2%


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Photo of Haiyan Zhang

Avi, amazing sketch of the service! Really cool.

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