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OMOMI Project UPDATED January 6th, 2015

OMOMI aims to improve childhealth by empowering mothers with basic maternal and child healthcare knowledge in Nigeria using mobile healthcare solutions.

Photo of Emmanuel Owobu
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Our product, the ỌMỌMI mobile application and services combines innovation with the already existing infinite potential of mobile technology in Africa. ỌMỌMI is based on the WHO/UNICEF Childhood Survival Strategies has a unique range of features helps parents keep their children healthy by enabling them easily monitor their children's health. It ensures parents can remember their kids’ future vaccination dates with an immunization schedule tracker, easily monitor their growth, as well as provides vital health tips on breast feeding and guides mothers in steps on the home management of diarrhea(second leading cause of under-5 mortality globally). The app also has a food fortification section to help mothers prepare balanced meals containing all the essential nutrients for a growing child, hence tackling malnutrition. The family planning gives interesting and important information encouraging family planning. The team is currently working on a very interesting model for the female education section. By using gamification, we intend to improve parents and caregivers basic health knowledge in promoting child and maternal healthcare. Furthermore the app has a mothers community section which provides a safe and secure platform for mothers to interact, share and learn with other mothers and doctors.
In other to reach every mother. We recognize that not all mothers have access to smartphones, we therefore have planned to extend and diversify the product by providing an SMS and/or Interactive Voice Recording (IVR) service. These services are still based on utilizing the essentials the WHO/UNICEF Childhood Survival Strategies. The messages which will sent on a one message daily basis, will help mothers in low income communities in the country get access to needed information on breastfeeding, growth status of their children(weight, height, Mid-arm circumference), immunisation reminders and nutritionally benefial meals. To help manage diarrhea, there will be an interactive voice service that gives mothers step by step instructions on home management of diarrhea.
I think it would work because the approach offers a potentially risk free innovative idea that uses the already ubiquitous mobile technology. The idea is based on delivering a verified stratergy by the WHO/UNICEF.
What are the risk of running mhealth solutions in developing countries? What approach is better SMS/IVR or app development? Do you think think this idea is sustainable? Do you think developing and low income communities are ready to start using app as an mhealth tool succesfully?

Who will benefit from this idea and where are they located?

Our target beneficiaries are Nigerian mothers, which fall in the reproductive age (15-45 years) and healthcare professionals. Women of child-bearing age account for 21.69% of the total population of Nigeria (about 40 million people), thus representing potentially large number of beneficiaries, with almost all being mobile phone users. Although the idea is easily replicable anywhere in the world, our main focus for now is to get to mothers and and their children in Nigeria. Example: A mother with three kids, mama Tayo, has a job and has to take care of the family while tending to her personal needs. Monitoring the growth, nutritional status and tracking every aspect of the babies growth and development maybe difficult. An example is tracking her kids immunization, using the apps immunization schedule she can monitor the dates she takes her kids for immunization. Mrs James is a pregnant mother seeking information pregnancy and related issues, by downloading the OMOMI app she has an option in the mothers community to interact with Mothers and Doctors alike. Mrs Otiwo, a young mother wants to decide on exclusive breastfeeding but isnt sure of the importance, by visiting the breastfeeding section of the app she has a wealth of information on the importance of the breastfeeding.

How could you test this idea in a quick and low-cost way right now?

With all things being equal, and all the needed to run the test present: 1) I will choose a community within Nigeria based need, accessibility and mobile technology coverage. 2) I will start pre-test survey on current knowledge attitude and practise of mothers on immunization, nutrition, breastfeeding and family planning 3) Seek immediate support from hospitals, primary health centres and local age groups to ensure successful test. 4) OMOMI foot ambassadors will be used to penetrate the communities. They would speak one on one about app usage, mothers interest, what mothers want in the app, potential alternatives like SMS, mobile web app etc (based on Feeback from Marga Schemm December 10, 2014 21:13pm

What kind of help would you need to make your idea real?

The OMOMI idea is a very unique and holistic approach to childhealth delivery. I need advice from the OpenIdeo Community on the feasibility of app use in healthcare delivery in a developing country like Nigeria. The help i would need will be from consultant pediatricians to verify accurately the information I am giving out. I will need help from top organisations like MAMA Global, Text To Change, Frontline SMS etc to provide a needed platform and resource to send well structured SMS. I will need help for support with hospitals, primary health centers, their doctors and other health workers. I will need help from organisations like UNICEF, WHO, mHealthAlliance OpenIDEO to help support the program which will give it much needed credibility.

Is this an idea that you or your organization would like to take forward?

  • Yes. I am ready and interested in testing this idea and making it real in my community.

32 comments

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Photo of Ana Paula Menezes
Team

Congratulations on your work! It's really well developed.
I just have a couple of questions.
-Do you have a plan for integrating mothers that have no access to smartphones, or your focus is exclusive for the ones that do have it?
-Is there any connection between the app usage and the local health system? Can local doctors receive the information and act by helping mothers to use it to its full potential?
If the app is easy to use and update, and the feedback is effective, then the positive implications can be great!

Photo of Irene Blas
Team

Great idea! Have you though of the way of giving the same advise to mothers who do not have access to mobile phones? you could develop and extra aid not only an app. But good job! I reallly like your idea!

Photo of Chioma Ume
Team

Hello Emmanuel! We've been having early childhood experts take a look at the ideas in Refinement and want to share some of their feedback with you: How can you build an evaluation about whether this approach is working into your plan? Also, are you aware of this organization http://www.mxitreach.org/who-we-are/ ? You might find their work interesting and a potential source of support.

Photo of Emmanuel Owobu
Team

Yes I know of Mxit and I love their broad based approach. We are currently looking to Every1mobile to be see a possibility of providing us something like that. As for the question I do not really understand it, could you please explain

Photo of Chioma Ume
Team

I think what they mean is how to you plan to track how this app is used to know whether or not it is working? For example, one measure is if parents are using it, another might be if they are understanding the information and yet another, if they are acting on it. Do you have a sense of how you will evaluate your app?

Photo of Malele Ngalu
Team

Dear Emmanuel
Great stuff you doing in Nigeria, We have already developed an SMS platform for the kenyan market and are at an advanced stage with IVR, a couple of lessons we could share herein https://openideo.com/challenge/zero-to-five/ideas/detecting-early-childhood-growth-abnormalities-using-mobile-technology,

Photo of Emmanuel Owobu
Team

Thank you very much. Duly noted

Photo of Duncan Maru
Team

Great work on innovating around the idea of greater access to understandable health information for parents about their kids.

To what extent can you use this as a tool for accountability of public sector healthcare services? In the absence of a healthcare system responsive to parents' knowledge and concerns, this wonderful app will not realize its potential. This has more to to do with your marketing and advocacy strategy with government rather than your app development per se.

Photo of Emmanuel Owobu
Team

Thanks Duncan. It's something we hope to achieve. That is, to be able to integrate the app with the current healthcare system and strategy in the country. For now, we are working hard to improve of marketing and publicity drive within the country.
As a tool for accountability of public healthcare services, there will definitely be the need for the government to get involved or at least the app should be hugely popular amongst the target users so much so that it will be an avenue for mothers to speak out about their current healthcare nedds and how to make it better.

Photo of Duncan Maru
Team

Thanks Emmanuel. If you can create that link between the app, patients, and actual care delivery, the impact could be substantial. Good luck!

Photo of Japhet Aloyce Kalegeya
Team

Hi. Emmanuel congratulation for your idea which selected to Refinement phase.

Lack of mobile application information is a challenge faced parents in low-income communities, because parents does not remember the date of vaccination for their children, so children can not thrive in their first five years.

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Congratulations on making the Zero to Five Refinement List, Emmanuel! We really like that you are already prototyping this idea. You might consider prototyping the different focus areas within your app separately to make them as easy to use as possible – and to get user feedback on their utility. How are you planning to divide up the different parts of the service into different interactions like SMS, smartphone, web, etc.? Have you considered other mediums to explain the educational aspects of the service? How will people learn how to use the technology involved? Completing a User Experience Map might help you clarify some of your thoughts about this http://ideo.pn/0to5-map. Do you have a team of people working with you on this app? What have you done to publicize it so far? What type of user feedback have you received? What can the OpenIDEO community do to help you move your idea forward? Check out tips for Refinement http://ideo.pn/0to5-tips-refine here.

Photo of Chioma Ume
Team

As part of your early selection into Refinement, IDEO designers in New York and Shanghai took a look at your idea and have shared their feedback. Here are some things they suggest you consider as you refine your idea:

CONSIDER YOUR USER

The OMOMI app is a fantastic prototype to begin working with new mothers in a design research pilot. To get real consumer feedback for our assumptions, you might want to:

- Research & Generate consumer scenarios of usage by:
Developing a vivid picture of children’s and mothers’ daily lives
Determining how mothers are using digital technology now and why? ( It can be a day of observing and shadowing activities, that we just observe what are the challenges that mothers face when they take care of their babies, and how others are involved.)
Showing mothers your current app and let them talk about what they love, what they find confusing. Asking them if they see themselves using it (and on what occasions)
Asking them to design their ideal ‘kid care app’ and let them talk about what they’d want
Synthesizing this information into opportunity areas for digital solution and develop related value propositions.

- Consider the data needs of the app and how much the community building aspect of it will impact the data usage. Will this great feature be used outside of emergency times due to concern of using up precious data plans? During your feedback session, look for behaviors that may be the mothers concern over data usage.

- Consider gamification aspects you can test in the app that will help mothers want to input data and return to the app? For example, the Ford Fusion used leaves that grow in portion to the amount of gas saved or the Japanese Tamagotchi game that requires the user to keep their character alive and happy. Can you add some visual component that will service as encouragement and a bit of reward?

TEST YOUR ASSUMPTIONS

Mothers need tools to help them on parenting for children’s health issues
- Do they really need tools to help them on the children’s health issue? if so, what are some of the current solution now?
-What are the key values those current solutions provide?

The key areas that mothers need help on are: immunization tracking, Oral rehydration therapy, breast feeding, food supplementation, and education
- Are those the core area that mothers need help for?
- What might be some other potential opportunity areas?

Mothers want to use your current digital solutions to make their life easier
- How would your solution fit in their daily life?
- How are they adapting the current digital technology?
- Will they be good with your current product flow?
- How should our information flow in a way that they are mostly likely to understand?
- What are the key principles that we should follow to design our product that fits into their life and needs?

ITERATE

In order to iterate, I recommend recruiting a new mothers review group and have them begin to use the app, collecting feedback at regular intervals. This group should be of a diverse mix of rural and city mothers. The feedback should be gathered from asking these types of questions:
1) How often did they use the app?
2) What information was the most helpful?
3) When did they use it, at home or at the healthcare facility?
4) How did they think to go to the app? Was it an alert from OMOMI or a question they had?

Photo of Emmanuel Owobu
Team

Hello, OpenIdeo Team an Chioma. I do not really understand this statement 'You might consider prototyping the different focus areas within your app separately to make them as easy to use as possible'

Photo of Chioma Ume
Team

Hi Emmanuel! I think that what the designers are suggesting is that you consider prototyping each of the different subject areas your app addresses separately. For example you might test the vaccine section independently of the health tips - so that you can get a sense of how valuable each of the different components are in isolation. This feedback from the designers are suggestions for your to consider as you work on refining your idea. Is this answer helpful?

Photo of Emmanuel Owobu
Team

Hello Chioma, Thanks I think i got it now. Still working with my team on refinement. It will also please you to know that we have made some progress in our SMS diversification of the app and have started doing some ground work although a bit skeletal for now.

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Great to hear you're making progress, Emmanuel. We'd also encourage you and your team to look over other ideas here in Refinement and post questions, feedback and suggestions. Between all of us here on OpenIDEO, we have a rich span of experience and perspectives. Let's share these to collectively strengthen our drive towards impact for children aged zero to five!

Photo of Chioma Ume
Team

In particular, you might be interested in the work that SHIHSU has been doing regarding mobile messaging: https://openideo.com/challenge/zero-to-five/refinement/shishu-information-and-delivery-ecosystem-for-first-48-hours-of-newborn-care
Looking forward to more updates on your work after Christmas.

Happy holidays!

Photo of Diini Omar
Team

This project for The OMOMI app is brilliant idea in Africa and effortless for parent to monitor their child health. It’s also great way to monitor their child schedule tracker specially if the child has illness or disability and needs to be aware of, such as the right time to get their vaccination so they don’t miss and I think when child has illness all those thing are really critical for their well being. First mother its useful guidelines on breast feeding furthermore direct mothers in steps on the home management of diarrhea really good this definitely ensure new mother.
Good luck! Diini

Photo of Emmanuel Owobu
Team

Thanks Diini, it's really great to know you feel the app will be immensely beneficial to mothers.

Photo of Jonathan Joanes
Team

This is great idea Emmanuel! It reminds me of health apps like 'mapmyrun' or 'myfitnesspal' where you can input data or data is recorded to provide useful health stats.

Perhaps you could look into these apps and use them as inspiration for your user interface. It would be nice to visually see beautiful charts and tables to inform the user about their child's health. Hopefully this would encourage people to stick with the app and continue to use it

Photo of Emmanuel Owobu
Team

Thanks Jonathan. I have downloaded the two apps. Although, I have some ideas on improving interface and adding charts. Example is a 'chartmybabysgrowth' within the growth section. It would be in form of a sticker like graph.
But I will love if you have more ideas on this, I will be very interested in hearing your thoughts especially after going through the app.

Photo of Marga Schemm
Team

This is a great idea. From my understanding the use of mobile technology in healthcare is becoming increasingly present and OMOMI seems to have understood how to embrace this methodology. We recently conducted a project in Northern Nigeria to gain insights on Northern Nigerian female youth, how they receive and disseminate information. The methodology we employed was mobile ethnography and it worked incredibly well. I've also worked on healthcare studies via this methodology and again, it was incredibly successful, for this reason I see this idea working well. Agree that one of the most important elements of OMOMI is its support network, getting the right health centres and healthcare professionals involved is necessary not only to build credibility, but as you mention, to make sure the information you are passing on is the correct information.
In terms of this being used in a low-income community, my wonder would be, what is smartphone penetration within them and how much access do they have to 3G within these regions, and of course at what cost does it come? Is this something that would truly be accessible to those that need it?
Going back to my experience of working with Northern Nigerian Youth, the way we managed to get all of our information from a sample of 150 young girls, was by recruiting ambassadors that hold a mobile device with our mobile App, they went on to interview / speak to their family, friends and peers. I think this is a great way of branching out, spreading the word and testing your App with a larger sample. If you managed to recruit a few OMOMI ambassadors and offer them data plans, they would surely be able to offer the App to mothers they know and that are interested (you could create multiple accounts for them perhaps). You could organise regular meet-up sessions in which they give you the information about their children, as well as regular feedback sessions. I am a strong believer in the power of word of mouth and think that in a community of mothers, trust plays a huge role. If you manage to communicate the value of your service to them and take onboard their feedback, I'm confident word will positively be passed on and demand for OMOMI will rise.

So many great elements to this, good luck!

Photo of Emmanuel Owobu
Team

Thanks Marga Schemm for your brilliant into the project. The MOBicure team is currently looking at foot ambassadors for the OMOMI project. This is a part of getting our users base we have always thought about doing. We currently are in the process of training our foot ambassadors and hopefully will begin in less than two weeks. It's really encouraging to know that the method has succeeded already, and we are buoyed to continue. We will be using Benin city and it's rural communities around as our pilot location for our foot ambassadors as well increase online promotions within the area. Internet and 3G is well penetrated within the city. In areas which don't have very good 3G penetration, the SMS package will ultimately be used to full effect.
As for reaching people who really need this, we have planned out a SMS package still based on the essentials of the WHO Childhood Survival Strategies. The pilot of this will likely be next year as we are planning to get some funds to run this in the same state. That is, we are going to extend the SMS/IVR package to more rural communities in and around Benin city and Edo state.
The feed back session we planned will be in collaboration with some private hospitals within the pilot area. This we believe will help us access the important areas of the app and how to improve on the less used parts of the app. Also, it would help seek opinion on how to improve the SMS/IVR package.

Photo of Sadé Tolani
Team

This is an absolutely fantastic idea. It is workable, effective, inexpensive and practical.
Embracing the use of mobile technology to engage people, especially Mothers, is one of the fastest ways to spread information. The health industry should capitalize on this facility.

Keep up the smart work.

Sadé Tolani
My Medical eCard.

Photo of Sanjana Ramamurthy
Team

Wow! The OMOMI involves every aspect! I have found it really useful and helpful especially for a young mums. And the tool of forum, where you can ask question is nice! You can't remember all measurements about your child, while here all information is stored at one app. Good luck!

Photo of Emmanuel Owobu
Team

Thanks Sanjana really appreciate the fact you love the app

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Interesting stuff, Emmanuel! Perhaps you might consider helping people better grasp how this idea could play out by describing some example scenarios which describe user journeys through some of the proposed activities you've outlined. Check this example: http://www.openideo.com/open/e-waste/concepting/neighbourhood-e-waste-champion/ where a few simple scenarios were created in an attempt to explain the goodness on the idea in a human-centered way. (You can update your post at any time by hitting the Update Entry button up there on the right.)

Through doing this we'll be able appreciate your idea through the lens of people in low-income communities.

We also hope you'll join in on discussion on others people's ideas here at OpenIDEO. Your perspectives would certainly enrich our conversations and collaboration...

Photo of Emmanuel Owobu
Team

Thanks Meena, I will work on my post and look to making easily understandable

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Well done Emmanuel. The app content looks quite a lot. Given the poverty of time for caretakers. I am wondering how we can keep the intervention little more simplified and targeted. I see most of the content is more of behaviour oriented and knowing that people are most likely to take up clearer and simple to adopt practices, it would be good to prioritize the interventions. Thanks

Photo of Emmanuel Owobu
Team

Thank you for your contribution, the app is in itself very simplified. The information, although seem a lot, it has been built to target some of the contributing factors to under five mortality.
Yes i know its based on behavior modification, but its also looks to educate and inform mothers.
You can download the app here to understand it better: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mobicure.omomi

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Thanks!