mHealth (mobile Health) has become a forth coming approach for health using mobile technologies such as cellular phones and computers. Factors such as the rapid advance in mobile technology and the increased coverage of countries around the global by mobile networks have become the driving force to its utilization. The concept of mHealth explains that the use of mobile and wireless technologies can be used to support the achievement of health objectives worldwide.
Health objectives such as the Millennium Developmental Goals (MDGs), mobile technology is used to support other strategies such as emergency obstetric care services, antenatal care services and training of traditional birth attendants to help achieve the MDG Goal 5 - Improve maternal health in the long run. A lot of research is being done on this topic and the push for more innovative ideas are being encouraged by organization with the help and funding of mobile and telecommunication companies.
In developing countries, mHealth is used in to provide maternal health services by using mobile phones to send text reminders for antenatal care and post natal follow up, sending health education messages and provide sms and voice calls to answer to pregnant women and traditional birth attendants (TBAs) queries and concerns. The midwives at the health centre provide this service.
Moreover, a midwife at the health centre can call the doctor, nurse in case of emergency. Doctors are asked for consultation advice and the ambulance is alerted in case of emergency referral.
In a study in Zanzibar, a woman talks about her 6th pregnancy. She said: " I felt something was wrong with my labor and I called the midwife who told me to come to the health centre. The midwife there tried to help me and even called the hospital to ask for advice. Then she called again and the hospital sent an ambulance for me. I has an operation and my child survived."
Who knows? Maybe mHealth can be the solution to improving maternal health and just might help reach the MDG Goal 5 - Improve maternal health someday!
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