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Maternal and Newborn Reproductive Health Services and Counselling System

Development of a Maternal and Newborn system for Remote Diagnosis and Counselling of women living in conflicts and flood affected areas.

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What specific problem(s) are you trying to address?

During floods, the transport infrastructure breakdown makes people isolated from social and other services. This has been a trend in Dar es Salaam and other nearby cities where people living in the outskirts of the city lose access to services. In the areas with conflicts like wars and recently land conflicts in Morogoro, people remain in-house due to fear of being caught in the fight.
This transport infrastructure breakdown and insecurity, make people in areas affected to have literally no means of physically accessing, among others, health services. Pregnant women and newborns are the ones that are mostly affected.Using ICT, this problem can be partly addressed through the Remote Diagnosis and Counselling of women and newborns.

What are some of your unanswered questions about the problem(s) you are working to address?

Some health centers have internet and communication facilities, but no specific system
 is integrated for emergencies during times of disasters, especially for women and newborns who may find it difficult to navigate through the disasters.
Maternal and newborn Health trends are manually captured through forms/cards which render their physical presence for diagnosis. This system will electronically capture the symptoms and diagnose the problems through the coded doctor/nurse functionalities.

Explain Your Idea

This project looks to develop and commission and test a system that integrate remote maternal and newborn diagnosis and care to the existing health system. The aim is to help vulnerable women and newborn to access health services even in presence of natural calamities and conflicts that hinder mobility.
The system will have two parts; USER ACCESS part which will be used as a front end system by women and clinical experts and DATABASE and BACK-END part which will keep the records and medical profiles of attendees. The back end algorithm will be used to fully profile all the features/characteristics that a maternal mother posses. This will be used for gauging the symptoms reported by the mother (for mother/newborn). The Front end access system will be web, mobile app and if resources allow USSD based.The user (mother) will be able to communicate the feel and symptoms in interactive manner with the back end system which will self prescribe the patient. Clinical experts will get notification about the patient and prescription and will be able to prescribe for problems that the system could not handle. The clinical experts can also get the reports and order further emergence actions based on specific issues.
The server and databases will reside in the UDICTI premises and clinics will be subscribe to this system service. Each mother will have account in the system, among which details include location coordinates in case of further emergence services.

Name the three most important ways that your idea will address your identified problem(s).

Our idea solves the problem through the following ways:-
1. Established end user access subsystem will enable the user to access the 'virtual doctor' and register the problem based on interactive USSD technology, mobile app or web.
2. The 'virtual doctor' subsystem which profiles the maternal mother possible reproductive health diseases, symptoms and prescriptions; will receive the query from the patient through a specific account and prescript and keep records. It also share the data with 'real doctors' in real time.
3. A real doctor's subsystem enables doctors/clinic attendants to make follow ups and further detailed diagnosis and prescriptions.

How is your idea unique?

This system will be the first (that we know of so far) in Tanzania and possibly the south Saharan Africa region, that does a remote self diagnosis for maternal and newborn. This feature ensures that coverage in reproductive health can be achieved just as much as convenience at times of disasters.
Secondly, with the mobile penetration of more than 80%, the basic phone access to most of Tanzanian is also high. With the basic phone access feature, the system can be used by many people.
With other solutions focusing on education rather than the alternative access solution during the times of calamities, this invention is expected to stand out.
On the other hand, experience in similar solutions and pool of coaching and testing resources that UDICTI have, give us an edge over others who may embark on the same development.
The initial rapid prototype has shown promise, and users had positive feedbacks on the prototype and expect this system to be a big help to them

What are some outstanding concerns or questions that you have regarding your idea?

Access to mobile phones, especially smart phones, may still be a problem to most people--especially in the rural--but many people may have access to basic phones.
Internet penetration is at 40% in Tanzania, so the Internet in some areas may be a problem. However, the system is also designed to use the USSD technology to serve even in areas without Internet.
IT expertise for hospitals and clinics may be a problem, but part of the development is to offer capacity building for health centres.

Who are your end users?

Maternal mothers, especially, in remote urban and rural areas will keep away from reproductive health issues during conflicts and calamities. With this system they will get services and access consultancy services at any time. With the young women being at high risk and the same time being the most capable to use the technology more effectively, they stand to be the most beneficiaries of this service.
Calamities, and conflicts aside, more than 50% of women in rural and urban areas in Tanzania are set to benefit from this in the long term. For testing, however, the system will be deployed in Bagamoyo areas in Tanzania, where about 1,000 women are set to become the initial beneficiaries. In the future, it will scale to other areas.

Where will your idea be implemented?

  • Tanzania

What is the primary type of emergency setting where your innovation would operate?

  • Natural disaster
  • Armed conflict
  • Community at risk of disaster

Tell us more about the emergency setting that you intend to implement in

Areas where natural calamities (e.g. flood, earthquake) and conflicts cause transport and mobility problems is where this idea fits. In the cities, owing poor infrastructure planning natural calamities isolate a large chunk of population from accessing the health facilities most of which are within the city. In areas of conflicts, armed people stop others from moving outside the conflict zones.
This implementation assumes that mobile networks and internet will be fairly fine during the crisis

What is your organization's name?

University of Dar Es Salaam ICT Incubator (UDICTI)

Tell us more about you.

The University of Dar es Salaam Information and Communication Technology Incubator (UDICTI) is the unit within the College of Information and Communication Technologies (CoICT) at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) that nurtures,through training, coaching and mentoring, university youth to establish their own businesses .
UDICTI being a youth led unit in the University, has been in operation since the year 2010, during which time it has been able to groom more than 200 young men and women at the University of Dar Es Salaam, some of whom have gone on to establish their own businesses.
With a pool of young men and women at the University, UDICTI has a track record of delivering innovative products, services and businesses.

Organizational Characteristics

  • Youth-led organization

What is the current scale of your proposed innovation?

  • Still in planning phase and does not exist yet

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

Expertise in Sector

  • Yes, for more than a year.

Organization Location

Our team, as part of UDICTI, is based in the college of Information and Communication Technologies (CoICT), which is at the University of Dar Es Salaam (UDSM), Tanzania. UDSM is Tanzanian registered.

What is your organizational status?

  • Part of a government entity.

What is the maturity of your innovation?

  • Early Stage Innovation: exploring my innovation, refining, researching, and gathering inspiration.


How has your idea changed based on feedback?

To guide the feedback a rapid prototype was done on the mobile phone access part. Users were taken through it and gave feedbacks.
The inputs received from Mothers, Nurses and doctors and other specialist in Kerege and Marie stopes hospitals have shaped the ideas in the following ways
1. Inclusion of a third person support feature which will enable the diagnosis on behalf of someone else that a mother or close relative knows
2. Capacity building for nurses through face to face and online contents
3. Development of simple capacity building materials for nurses to train mothers
4. The implementation of service payment features for the services that are delivered through the system.
Another lesson that was drawn is the size of the target group, where in Kerege alone around 1,500 mothers are believed to be living in remote areas and affected by calamities. This may have been not foreseen in the earlier visit. Due to rain in Tanzania we couldn't reach Kilosa-another target area

Who will implement this idea?

This idea is going to be implemented through a collaboration between UDICTI and Marie Stopes Hospital with roles for each partner illustrated below:-
1. UDICTI will design, develop and commission the system for use
2. Marie Stopes will provide medical expertise, including the required symptoms and prescription data for the system development.
3. NOXYT will provide the technical support.
Ten (10) staff will be supporting the idea, including 6 from UDICTI, 2 from Marie Stopes (A nurse and a doctor) and 2 from NOXYT developers. Four (3) UDICTI staff will be supporting the idea full time with other four (3) supporting it part time. The two (2) staff from Marie Stopes will be supporting the idea on a part time basis, while the 2 NOXYT team members will support on full time basis.

Using a human-centered design approach, you may uncover insights that lead to small or foundational changes to your organization’s existing strategy or processes in order to unlock the potential of your idea. How would your organization go about making such changes?

UDICTI is built on a human-centered design foundation and embraces the nine digital principles in developing solutions and services, so the existing strategy/processes support HCD. However, as we collaborate with new partners and work with a new groups (in mothers and children) we will certainly adapt some methodologies/approaches to dealing with them, including dedicating more time to work closely with them.
The decisions within UDICTI are made through the management team, which includes UDICTI coordinator and financial, incubation+ acceleration, Research and Capacity Building coordinators. Since UDICTI is a unit within the college, it reports to the college management commitee which manages the college's daily operations. Any major decission, therefore, go through that chain.

What challenges do your end-users face? (1) What is the biggest challenge that your end-users face on a day-to-day, individual level? (2) What is the biggest systems-level challenge that affects your end-users?

The end users, who are mothers, face the following challenges:-
1. Travelling a long distance (10-15 km) for services such as health, shopping, schools for their children etc.
2. Transport challenges which exacerbate during calamities such as floods
3. Low education level, which makes it difficult for them to embrace technology in a bid to solve some of the issues they face.
4. Poverty
Poverty, is the biggest challenge that my end-users face. With low education and living in remote and isolated areas, it is difficult for them to economically sustain themselves on a daily basis.
The biggest system level challenge for my users is in the use of the high-tech solution. Despite the availability of network, there is a need of intense capacity building to enable them to use this solution

Tell us about your vision for this project: (1) share one sentence about the impact you would like to see from this project in five years and (2) what is the biggest question you need to answer to get there?

IMPACT: By 2023, we expect that this system will have incorporated all possible maternal and reproductive health clinical processes and diagnosis, and will reach 40% of the accessible beneficiaries.
QUESTION: Tanzania National Road Map Strategic Plan to Improve Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health in Tanzania (2016-2020): How can the system evolve and scale up through technology and awareness programs to increase life saving interventions for women and children?

What is it that most attracted you to Amplify instead of a more traditional funding model?

Amplify model embraces the principles of digital design and give the opportunity to prospective beneficiaries to evolve their ideas through the support of the Amplify network! This makes it not only easier for people to come forward with ideas, but also helps them to improve their ideas in the process, even if they ultimately don't make it to the funding.
On the other hand the Amplify approach gets people to learn more about HCD and improve their ability to develop problem relevant solutions.

Do you intend to implement your Amplify idea in refugee camps / temporary settlements?

  • We aim to implement our Amplify idea in a refugee camp / temporary settlement.

How long have you and your colleagues been working on this idea together?

  • Between 6 months and 1 year

How many of your organizations’s paid, full-time staff are currently based in the location where the beneficiaries of your proposed idea live?

  • No paid, full-time staff

Is your organization registered in the country you intend to implement your idea in?

  • We are registered in all countries where we plan to implement.

My organization's operational budget for 2016 was:

  • Above $1,000,000 USD

What do you need the most support with for your innovation?

  • Business Model Support
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Attachments (3)

User Map.pdf

This user map illustrates how the system helps the Maternal women and newborns (via their mothers) to get the remote diagnosis support and counselling from the doctors/nurses.


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Hi Moses Ismail and team!

An important reminder, Refinement Phase closes this Thursday, October 26 at 11:30pm PST.

We can only consider complete submissions, so please make sure that you have reviewed the Feedback and Refinement Phase Checklists and answered all of the questions on the platform. Note that we added one more multiple choice question to the end of the form.

If you're having trouble figuring out how to edit your idea, please refer to this guidance:

Best of luck!

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