By Samuel Ouma
Like many African nations, Cameroon has been grappling with a high maternal mortality rate for decades. Research shows that the maternal mortality rate in the Western country is currently at 529 deaths per 100,000 live births.
Many factors have aggravated the deaths, including poverty, distance to health facilities, poor infrastructures, and inadequate and poor-quality health services. The ongoing conflicts in the country’s Northwest and southwest further worsen the situation since many health facilities have either been shut down or are struggling with insufficient healthcare workers and resources.
However, health services are improving as many pregnant women can now access quality health care thanks to the Bornfyne Mobile App, the invention of the Nkafu Policy Institute, a think tank at the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation. The digital app connects pregnant women with medical officers anywhere at any time.
Implemented by D&L Foretia Foundation in collaboration with the University of Ottawa in Canada, the app tremendously enhances prenatal care in women in the nation. It allows mothers to be in touch with health professionals throughout the pregnancy, and in case of an emergency, the mother can also be traced by the GPS in the app. To ensure continuity of treatment, the platform also records all of the activities of the medical staff.
Due to its connection to the real-time web, the app tracks the district’s capacity to respond to health issues and aids in enhancing the quality of its health services. Additionally, it alerts the district to health trends, allowing neighborhood teams to intervene quickly. The women’s treatment and transport costs are also well-catered for.
“No matter how far away their home is, pregnant women, can contact doctors in case of anything and receive urgent care,” said Dr. Denis Foreitia, the co-founder of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation.
Mobile phones with the BornFyne app are given to expectant mothers, who are then instructed on how to use them. They can learn how to register and input their data from healthcare professionals.
The app services are unaffected by electricity because mothers are given solar power to charge their phones. In addition to providing power and light for hospital rooms, solar energy helps keeps medical facilities running.
Piloted between 2018 and 2019 in the Bali Health district in Cameroon, the app’s services have extended further to other regions.
The app recently gained global attention after grabbing its first award. It beats seven other innovations from different organizations to win the Geneva Global Games 2022 awards.
The Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation is a non-profit organization in Cameroon that focuses on social entrepreneurship, science and technology, innovation, public health, and progressive policies that foster economic opportunity for all to catalyze Africa’s economic revolution.