Every year, over 6,000 women die during childbirth in Kenya. A significant factor driving maternal mortality and morbidity is low care-seeking behaviour; many women don’t have access to available, or accessible information to make informed choices about where to seek care, and when. Consequently, a third of maternal deaths are caused by delays in seeking clinical care at the right place and time.
Jacaranda Health aims to address low care-seeking amongst expectant and new mothers by deploying an innovative, affordable, and scalable digital health tool – PROMPTS – to empower mothers with information via SMS. The nonprofit has been working with CM.com to integrate the process of mothers signing up from PROMPTS with WhatsApp for Business, providing an easy way for healthcare providers to link moms to lifesaving advice.
PROMPTS (PROmoting Mothers through Pregnancy/Postpartum Through SMS) is an AI-enabled SMS-based messaging platform designed to address delays in care-seeking amongst women across Kenya. Women enrol on the platform for free in public facilities and start to receive a carefully-designed sequence of messages tracked to their stage of pregnancy or postpartum.
Using an in-house developed, AI-based triage system and sophisticated helpdesk service, mothers’ questions are answered quickly and efficiently, with urgent cases escalated and flagged to clinical helpdesk agents, ensuring mothers at risk of complications can be referred to the appropriate level of care in time. PROMPTS influences key behavioural changes linked with better health outcomes, including antenatal care visits, postnatal care, postpartum family planning, and exclusive breastfeeding.
Jacaranda Health approached CM.com to help improve the efficiency by which mothers are enrolled to PROMPTS. Mothers fill in a consent form and share their phone numbers to enrol. Through a WhatsApp Business integration, information is then automatically processed through a transcription portal and uploaded to the system. Each month, CM.com also provides Jacaranda Health with updates on current trends and key insights into the platform’s performance to continue improving how WhatsApp is integrated with the sign-up process.
“WhatsApp plays a critical role in our ability to reliably sign up mothers on a regional level. The instant messaging platform serves as the starting point of the journey with us and remains intrinsic to getting them what they need and where they need to go,” says Jay Patel, Head of Technology at Jacaranda Health.
Since its rollout, PROMPTS has signed up over 1.25million women at more than 1,000 health facilities across Kenya. 85% of mothers flagged for danger signs by the PROMPTS helpdesk service go to the hospital. They have also seen a 20% increase in women achieving four or more of the recommended prenatal care visits and women using the platform are twice as likely to take up postpartum family planning.
Today, Jacaranda’s AI-powered helpdesk answers up to 4,000 questions for mothers each day, and moms showing danger signs are called within one hour by a clinical helpdesk agent and referred to the appropriate level of care. The efficiency and scalability of this AI-enabled platform (beginning with the rapid enrollment of mothers with CM.com’s support) also means that the lifetime cost of providing this service to one mom is just $0.74 – ensuring that it always remains a free service for mothers.
“Apart from their obvious technical expertise, we specifically selected CM.com to help us on our journey because they offered hands-on service in Kenya, where we are based. From the get-go, the CM.com team has been super responsive and proactive in how they deal with our organisation’s evolving technical needs and challenges,” Patel added.
PROMPTS, with the help of CM.com’s integrated systems, has proven to be a simple, affordable mobile intervention that results in impactful outcomes, helping thousands of mothers and babies across Kenya.
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