3M: Mobiles for Maternal health in Mali

Aga Khan Foundation USA
Organization Location: 
Washington, DC USA

Most women in rural Mali give birth at home and with limited assistance, due to unmanageable distances between communities and health facilities, unsupported community health workers and the inability of the health system to track pregnant women and respond to high risk and emergency cases. As a result, Mali has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. To address these barriers, the Aga Khan Foundation will pilot the use of mobile phones by frontline health providers (Community Health Workers and trained birth attendants) in 30 communities in rural Mali and test the capacity of this innovative approach to: a) enhance frontline providers’ ability to provide appropriate, adequate services to pregnant women and newborns; b) improve the timeliness and effectiveness of referrals and evacuations; and c) strengthen the community health information system. In partnership with Mali’s University of Bamako, 3M will adapt FrontlineSMS software to link community health workers’ mobile phones to two levels of facilities staffed with skilled providers – Community Health Centers and district hospitals – thereby enabling existing frontline providers to track expectant mothers and newborns, send client information to facilities, and receive feedback on the appropriate response. To date, mobile technology has not been harnessed to address maternal and infant survival in Mali, yet the conditions for this type of innovation are favorable: mobile network coverage in Mali is high and the Ministry of Health and its partners are eager to scale-up this pilot through the new Essential Health Care at Community Level policy.