Apps to reduce maternal, infant deaths

By Steve Mbogo and Christabel Ligami


  • One mobile app, ZiDi, provides access to real-time data on patients and medical supplies

A growing number of organisations are supporting innovations to come up with affordable ways of curbing diseases and reducing deaths of children and mothers.

This year alone, more than 10 innovations by East Africans on maternal healthcare and other medical issues largely affecting children under five years and their mothers have been awarded more than $1 million for their upscaling.

The latest innovation to be awarded $100,000 is Microclinic Technologies, Kenya. The company has developed a mobile application known as ZiDi, a mobile health management system that provides access to real-time data to improve health planning decisions.

The company received the award under an initiative funded by pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline and Save the Children.

ZiDi tracks drugs or supplies consumed, forecasts demand and automates orders for essential medicines and supplies from suppliers like the Kenya Medical Supply Authority (Kemsa). This will help curb losses and protect consumers from counterfeit drugs.

The application will also record patients’ results for blood pressure, diabetes, blood tests and temperature. The system will also capture patients’ biodata and how much money they have paid for medical services. The application will enable health facilities to have accurate data on their patients and supplies.

ZiDi, recognised for its innovative and bold m-health approach that promises to increase efficiency and improve decision-making in health facilities, was successfully piloted in Kisumu County and has been adopted by the Ministry of Health for use in 30 health facilities in Kenya, starting in 2014.

“The system saves time and resources and in case of an emergency the patient is referred to the right doctor,” said MicroClinic Technologies chair Mary Matu, adding that the main challenges facing health facilities in Kenya are personnel, finances and medical supply.

According to Ms Matu, the company has partnered with Microsoft and Kemsa to further develop the system for larger health facilities in order to roll it out in the entire country by May 2014.

The system will monitor service utilisation, consumption of vaccines and all essential drugs and accurately forecast potential demand in health facilities.

“MicroClinic Technology has partnered with Kemsa, to use their medical system to track how many drugs were dispensed in a health facility, how many are stocked, out of stock and expiring,” said Ms Matu.

Under an initiative known as the Stars in Global Health programme and funded by the Canadian government, several other innovations have been developed.

One innovation rewards mothers who take their children for vaccination. Researchers will create a bar-coded vaccination card redeemable for farm seeds and fertiliser.

The card is updated each time a child gets a vaccine and then the parent is able to redeem “agri-credit” for essential farm inputs. Lead researcher Benson Wamalwa of the University of Nairobi said the programme will encourage parents to seek and adhere to their children’s immunisation schedule even when hard pressed financially to reach a distant vaccination centre.

A Ugandan innovation under the same initiative is seeking to develop a new vaccine for tse tse fly-inflicted African trypanosomiasis also known as “sleeping sickness.”

Using genomics, bioinformatics, molecular biology and other modern sciences, Ugandan researchers led by Savannah Mwesigwa will test novel ideas for an innovative vaccine to combat the disease in people and livestock.

In Tanzania, an innovative project led by Daudi Simba of Muhimbili University and other researchers looks to take advantage of the surge in motorcycles by using them to deliver anti-malaria drugs.


Article Source: Relief Web


  1. Go to M-PESA on your phone
  2. Select Pay Bill option
  3. Enter Business no. 821695
  4. Enter Account no. 10233
  5. Enter the Amount. KES 1000
  6. Enter your M-PESA PIN and Send
  7. You will receive a confirmation SMS from MPESA
  8. You will receive a confirmation SMS from ZiDi
  9. Click on update points.

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