Airtel, Grameen Foundation, VAS2nets launch mobile health services
By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria
Airtel Nigeria has partnered with Grameen Foundation and VAS2nets Technologies Ltd to unveil two innovative mobile health services dubbed Mobile Midwife and Dial-a-Doctor in an effort to reduce infant and maternal mortality rate in Nigeria.
Mobile Midwife is a tailored mobile service designed to provide vital healthcare and nutrition information. The Dial-A-Doctor service, on the other hand, provides real-time help to pregnant women, nursing mothers and mothers with children under five years of age.
The Airtel Mobile Midwife and Dial-A-Doctor services also offer unhindered access to adequate healthcare services and medical advisories to the target group.
The Mobile Midwife service comes in two variants - Pre-natal services and new born/mother services. Both services are aimed at improving antenatal seeking behaviour of pregnant women and access to validated health and nutrition information.
On the other hand, the Dial-a-Doctor service offers subscribers first-hand opportunity to speak to a doctor by dialling 67777. Users are billed N30 per minute when connected to a doctor.
To subscribe and register for the Mobile Midwife pre-natal services, customers are expected to dial 1561. Upon registration, subscribers receive calls from the service, once a week, with information which is tailored to their stage of pregnancy. They can also call in and speak to experienced medical personnel at any time.
For new born/mother services, customers are required to dial 1561 to listen to the voice prompt and register for the service. Upon registration, subscribers will receive information, at frequent intervals, via IVR, throughout the first year of the child’s life.
The Mobile Midwife subscription service is billed at N30 per week. Subscribers are notified every day for the last 2 days before expiration of their subscription. Customers registered for the service can also dial 1561 to speak directly with a doctor at N50 per minute at any time and on any day of the week.
Commenting on the innovative proposition, the Chief Commercial Officer, Airtel Nigeria, Mr. Maurice Newa, said Airtel is intensely interested in the health and general wellbeing of pregnant women and infants as this is consistent with its corporate vision of becoming the most loved brand in the daily lives of Nigerians.
According to him, Airtel is committed in its quest of touching lives and enriching Nigerians, noting that the company is deeply interested in reducing infant and maternal mortality across the country.
The Mobile Midwife service was made possible by a grant provided by the GSMA Connected Women Programme to Grameen Foundation with technical support provided by VAS2Nets Technologies Ltd.
Claire Sibthorpe, Director of the GSMA Connected Women Programme, said: “The GSMA Connected Women Programme seeks to accelerate the growth of the female digital economy by working with partners to bring significant socio-economic benefits to women consumers and employees. One way this can be achieved is by delivering life-enhancing mobile services for women and the Mobile Midwife service is a great example of this. It will create social impact by providing medically-proven, locally relevant health information to pregnant women and nursing mothers in Nigeria.”
The C.E.O. of VAS2Nets Technologies Ltd, Mr. Ayo Stuffman also emphasizes on the need to prevent majority of death by the intelligence of mobile health care solutions through the recent incredible growth in technology trend. “Getting behavioural change information into the hands of vulnerable women and providing access to medical and emotional advice for men and women can help build the Nigeria we want. Dial-A-Doctor and Mobile Midwife is timely and will help a great deal,” he said.
Mobile Midwife was first developed in Ghana through collaboration between Grameen Foundation and the Ghana Health Service.
“Our experience has shown that providing information to pregnant women and mothers of infants that is tailored to their stage of pregnancy or the child’s development reduces birth complications and improves health outcomes for mother and child. We are pleased to work with Airtel Nigeria and VAS2nets to launch this service in Nigeria,” said Hillary Miller-Wise, Grameen Foundation’s regional CEO for Africa.
According to a recent World Health Organization (WHO) report, Nigeria is classified as one of the 10 countries of the world that contribute about 60 per cent of the world’s maternal mortality burden.
But with the introduction of Airtel mobile health service which provides reliable and up-to-date information for the target group, the telco aims to support the government’s efforts in addressing birth complications, also reducing infant mortality and maternal mortality in Nigeria.