Saving Moms and Babies through Empowering Unskilled Traditional Birth Attendants with Simple Technology

Intermountain Healthcare
Organization Location: 
Provo, Utah

Babies and mothers die and have long-term health problems from preventable causes, nearly all in low income countries. Despite recent successful interventions in Bangladesh, mortality rates remain high because most births occur at home with unskilled traditional birth attendants (Dais). Our proposal centers around development of a novel device to help the untrained, illiterate user recognize complications in pregnant mothers (Science & Technology) with dissemination of the device by government health workers to Dais in a way that fosters education (Service Delivery). Empowerment of Dais through technology, education and support will in turn motivate pregnant women to pursue healthy behaviours (Demand Creation). Our objectives are to create a low-cost, handheld, solar-powered, ultrasound and cell technology- based device with embedded automated algorithms for fetal gestational age, growth, presentation and number, as well as placental location, validate the ability of this device to identify pregnant mothers at risk of complications, and test the efficacy of the device in improving care seeking behavior (of both mothers and their Dais) and maternal/neonatal outcomes. This proposal combines medical, engineering, and public health expertise in a unique global marriage of institutions. Assuming success in these objectives, we will scale up the intervention stepwise throughout Bangladesh and, ultimately, globally.

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