How AI helps mothers in Kenya get the care they need, faster
Friday, April 5, 2019
By Sathy Rajasekharan
Every mother has questions during and after a pregnancy. How often should I feel my baby kick? When should I go to the hospital? How do I know if my newborn is feeding enough? In many settings around the world, mothers get in touch with their providers, friends or search the internet for these answers. But what about a mother who only has a primary school education, living in a rural community in Kenya, whose connection to the outside world is simple feature phone?
Jacaranda Health is trying to find solutions to improve health outcomes for low-income mothers who seek care at public hospitals. We launched text messaging service called PROMPTS that provides pregnant women and new mothers with essential information. In a short period of time, over 11,000 mothers have signed up for the service. Our initial objective was to send a series of rigorously tested messages to the mothers to ‘prompt’ them to seek care. We soon realized that mothers have questions they want answered — lots of questions! Almost half of our users respond to the text prompts with three to five questions, and a small percentage have more than 20 questions.
Photo courtesy of Rob Tinworth.