OMOMI Project - Improving childhealth by empowering mothers with basic maternal and child healthcare knowledge in Nigeria using mobile healthcare solutions.
The project looks to provide an easy to use and accessible platform for parents and caregivers to monitor their children's health. The OMOMI Project looks to tackle immunization, parent education and under-5 malnutrition by providing mobile health services (SMS, Interactive Voice Recording and development of Mobile App). The project is based on utilizing the essentials of the WHO/UNICEF Childhood Survival Strategies. Tracking immunization, monitoring growth and development, giving essential breastfeeding, feeding and family planning knowledge. Also, educating mothers on home management techniques of diarrhea. Also, promoting rural development by encouraging formation of mothers community.
Watching a child grow from new born to succesful adulthood is one of the many joys of a parent. A mother and child especially share a unique born that goes beyond the human understanding. The health of everychild, especially in his develeopment years of 0 - 5 years of age is critically important to their growth and development. Malnutrition of under-5 are directly associated with the quantity and intensity of illnesses that affect children and the procedures required for their treatment. Repeated illnesses at this age can cause stunting, poor cognitive development, reduced activities, poor social skills etc.
Being a medical doctor in a developing country (Nigeria), I get to see this almost on a daily basis. What I also see on a daily basis is the use of mobile phones, from basic phones to smartphones and tablets. The use of smart phones over the decade has more than doubled. Current research puts mobile phone penetration in Nigeria as at 2013 to be about 75%, and 89% globally in developing countries. This therefore provides huge benefits to a country like Nigeria with a doctor:patient ratio of 1:6400. This has inspired me and given me a sense of believe that if doctors cannot get to every patient, a mobile phone has potentially gotten to parent. With mobile phone penetration rapidly increasing, it is important to utilize this in as much parts of our lifes as possible.
The use of mobile money and e-payment systems in Africa is an example that Africa is succesfully growing rapidly it's e-commenrce scence. This is an example of large scale succcess story of mobile technology in Nigeria. By learning from this, one can answer questions like: are Nigerian parents educated enough to use mobile technlogy, what is the interest level of use of mobile technology in everyday life.
Some of the key questions raised are; how do we spark the interest of parents in relation to childhealth, how can mothers learn basic healthcare skills, how can we reduce hospital visits, how do improve doctor patien ratio, how do we reduce malnutrion in under-5, how do parents prevent malnutrition and simple illnesses?
How do we solve these problems is also very important. Mobile technology brings along with it ubiquity, ease of understanding and potential to educate a large group of people conviently at the touch of a button. By modifying and interpreting the essentials of WHO/UNICEF Childhood Survival Strategiee to parents, the OMOMI Project looks to help parents curb malnutrition which is one of the major causes of failure to thrive and its effects like poor cognitive function, reduced physical and social development abilities.