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Health Workers Aim to Save Lives of Mothers, Babies with Smartphone Data

Tina Chakma, a six-month-old baby girl plays in an improvised hammock inside her parents' house on the outskirts of Agartala, India, March 20, 2018.
Health Workers Aim to Save Lives of Mothers, Babies with Smartphone Data
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A new project in India and Uganda is aimed at helping health workers save the lives of mothers and babies with information from electronic devices.

The $100 million project is funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank and other groups. Officials plan to extend the project to a total of 10 countries. The goal is to prevent the premature deaths of 6 million women and children by 2030.

Raj Shah is president of the Rockefeller Foundation, which leads the project. The group is providing $60 million of the $100 million total cost. Shah said the plan is to give health workers low-cost tools to help them gather the information they need to help communities and families most at risk.

The project will provide tools such as real-time risk maps to help health workers reach mothers and children. Workers also will be able to study non-health data on climate or social media patterns to predict and prepare for local disease outbreaks or health emergencies.

Shah told Reuters, “A few years ago, these community health workers had no real technology…today the vast majority of them have smartphones with data and software technologies in their hands - and with those, we can help them do their work better.”

A U.N. report published last week stated that more women and newborn babies survive now than ever before. But, the report said that a baby or a pregnant woman still dies every 11 seconds somewhere in the world.

Deaths of mothers are nearly 50 times higher for women in sub-Saharan Africa than in wealthy countries. The report also found that babies in Sub-Saharan Africa are 10 times more likely to die in their first month of life.

I’m Jonathan Evans.

The Reuters news agency reported this story. Jonathan Evans adapted it for Learning English. Mario Ritter Jr. was the editor.


Words in This Story

prematureadj. taking place too soon or earlier than usual​

real-timeadj. happening or shown at the speed at which a computer receives and processes information