Mapping High Risk Pregnancies with Essential Diagnostic Kit in Remote and Vulnerable Populations in Afghanistan

Associazione Italiana Solidarietà tra i Popoli (AISPO)
Organization Location: 
Milan, Italy

This 24 month project integrates innovative uses of technology with women’s on-the-doorstep personalized pregnancy diagnostic services and raises awareness of the need to obtain antenatal care, particularly in remote and nomad Kuchi populations, in Herat Province, Afghanistan. The project is staffed by women doctors, midwives and community health workers (CHWs) who work together across traditional boundaries to save women’s lives in pregnancy and childbirth. It combines existing technologies in one easy to use, cheap, robust, portable diagnostic machine, connected remotely to a centralized system. There, doctors analyze the data, assign each woman a risk level and send back a customized treatment plan to the woman's nearest health centre. The Pregnancy And Newborn Diagnostic Assessment unit (PANDA) integrates key diagnostic tools with the software to record and transmit test results, basic ultrasound images and medical history to a central unit where doctors map, geographically and temporally, all the pregnancies of the target population. It is specifically adapted for use by Community Health Workers operating in women’s homes in the most remote areas, who are empowered and trained to be the hands and eyes of doctors. The addition of a micro-insurance policy for pregnant women encourages participation and offers essential benefits, such as urgent transportation to a medical facility. This project not only carries medical expertise to pregnant women in their homes anywhere in the world, but also raises community respect for CHWs to enable them to improve preventive care at household level.