By Boris Esono Nwenfor
The BornFyne Prenatal Management System has been launched on Thursday, August 4 in Akonolinga, a town in Cameroon’s Centre Region in the presence of HE Richard Bale, Canadian High Commissioner to Cameroon, Dr Denis Foretia, co-chair of Foretia Foundation, representative of Grant Challenges Canada, and other local administrative authorities.
Cameroon is a lower-middle income country, with a relatively high maternal mortality rate (MMR) of 596/100,000 live births, according to Dr Denis Foretia, co-chair of the Foretia Foundation. This high rate has been attributed partly to the policies in place that affect the healthcare delivery system, especially in resource allocation, poorly functioning referral systems, emergency services, high out-of-pocket expenses, and long trekking distances to reach motorable roads are particular issues that continue to impede access to maternal health services in Cameroon and most sub-Saharan African countries in general.
“It is an important project for a couple of reasons; one it addresses the problem of maternal mortality rate which is too high. A country like Cameroon should have a lower mortality rate,” HE Richard Bale, Canadian High Commissioner to Cameroon said. “The second reason the project is important is that it is an innovative approach using a common technology which is smartphones. As Cameroon has indicated their ambition to establish a digital health policy, this project will contribute to that by demonstrating ways in which health services can be delivered digitally.”
BornFyne is a Grand Challenges Canada-funded innovation which was tested in the Bali district in Cameroon in 2018 and trademarked with the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI). The bornFyne digital platform aims to improve and strengthen the capacity of district health services and health facilities in delivering innovative, accountable, quality, data-driven reproductive maternal and child health services for women and adolescent girls, and marginalized and most vulnerable populations in Cameroon and other sub-Saharan countries.
“We have a role in following up the project and raising its profile that is why when I was invited to Akonolinga I was excited to come. I think it I come and it does raise the profile and it is great to have this media coverage so more people will be able to learn about the project,” HE Richard Bale added.
Denis Foretia, co-chair of the Foretia Foundation said it is an eighteen months project and called on Akonolinga to make use of the project for the reduction of maternal mortality in the country.
BornFyne is an interactive mobile application connected to a real-time web portal, prenatal management system (PNMS). The PNMS is designed to use geospatial information and establishes a real-time digital connection between the pregnant woman and the doctor to geo-navigate and geo-localise distressed patients or pregnant women, especially during emergencies. It uses both online and offline features to ensure a continuous educational platform for health promotional messages for family planning and other public health emergency using local languages and generates highly disaggregated prenatal data that compliments the DHIS2 system.
BornFyne-PNMS supports the delivery of clinical care for antenatal care visits and skilled birth delivery at the primary care level, and district hospitals and facilitates referrals to regional hospitals. It supports the health system and the ability to respond, track and monitor health facilities, providers, districts, and regional activities. Using the BornFyne digital platform, we aim to improve and strengthen the capacity of district health services and health facilities in delivering innovative, accountable, quality, data-driven reproductive maternal and child health services for women and adolescent girls, the marginalized and most vulnerable population in Cameroon and other sub-Saharan countries.
The Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation in partnership with the University of Ottawa Canada, SPRL Donwel Systems, CIRES Cameroon, University of Zambia (School of Epidemiology and Public Health) and Women in Global Health Zambian Chapter is collaborating with the Ministry of Public Health in Cameroon and Zambia at the district level to continue testing the BornFyne platform in four health districts in the Center and Southwest Regions of Cameroon and one district in Zambia.