For the first initiative of the Madiro Fund, we have decided to support a local project in Kenya that intersects our areas of interest and expertise: mobile technology and the health of children!
Healthy pregnancies and deliveries are essential for the health of babies and children. Unfortunately, many rural Kenyan women are unable to access adequate prenatal and perinatal care due to financial constraints and transportation barriers.
We have identified a university-based Kenyan initiative that plans to distribute smartphones to community health volunteers that visit the homes of pregnant women and newborns in villages to offer health advice.
The smartphones will provide these volunteers with clinical decision support tools that allow them to tailor their health messages to individual families, and identify those at higher risk of complications for referral to health care professionals. The open source software designed for these smartphones will also allow information to be saved in electronic health records and to collect anonymous data for program evaluation purposes.
Although we are aware that mobile technology is not a panacea, we believe that it can be used as a tool to help promote the health of communities. We are optimistic that this first project that our Foundation is supporting, will not only help improve the health of women and children in rural Kenya, but will also provide important lessons on how to scale-up and replicate similar initiatives.