The global maternal health social media conversation that has been ongoing since 2013 under the #MaternalMonday hashtag was officially launched by the Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA) today in Abuja, Nigeria. The new #MaternalMonday digital space will allow WBFA to reach more users, even in remote areas, via a medium that is rapidly growing and evolving, wrote WBFA in a press release.
“Launching a standalone digital platform for mothers, campaigners, healthcare professionals, and others to engage with one another will allow us to deliver life-saving health information to even more people in communities across the African continent, and indeed the world,” said Felicity Ukoko, Head of Programmes and Advocacy at the Wellbeing Foundation Africa.
Lead photo: The National Forum of Bangui during the report on ‘Justice and Reconciliation’ in the capital of the Central African Republic on 9 May 2015.
The history of the Central African Republic (CAR) has been riddled with conflict since it was first established in 1960, but the past few years have been particularly upsetting. In December of 2012, fighting between the Seleka and Anti-Balaka groups began causing catastrophe. Towns were burned to the ground. Men were either recruited to fight or were killed. Women were raped, taken as slaves, or slaughtered with their children.
To complicate matters, there truly was never a good or bad side to begin with. The CAR was a poor country at the start and as seen in every major conflict, upheaval occurred when people felt they weren’t treated fairly. Unfortunately, a few bad people started propagating hate that sparked killing and pillaging. Now there is no way to ‘take back’ what has been done. The scale of the situation has spread and over a million lives have been affected in both the CAR and surrounding countries.
While there has been some international response and the storm has seemingly calmed, rebel groups are continuing to fight for power. Some areas are still controlled by armed militias leaving many who need humanitarian assistance unreachable. More than 6,000 lives have been lost since 2012 and the number continues to rise due to violence and humanitarian crises. As long as these groups continue to terrorize the countryside, innocent people will suffer.
As of 2014 only 23% of Kenyans have access to electricity according to the World Bank. That number has remained steady since 2005. Now, a reported two million Kenyans will gain access to renewable energy through portable home solar kits donated by renewable energy company, US-based SkyPower. The home kits will include LED bulbs, a fan, USB charging capabilities and a radio that will be powered and recharged by the sun.
Driving around Africa in both congested cities and sparsely-populated rural towns you will see that most people carry a mobile phone in plain sight, countless signs for mobile providers can be seen at nearly every turn, and “top up” guys scout out customers who are in constant need of more mobile minutes. Mobile is here to stay in Africa and so are mobile apps. In fact, there are now over 600 million mobile users on the continent and an increasing crop of new mobile companies creating apps for a populace ripe for innovative mobile technology.
Mobile health apps, in particular, are steadily becoming mainstays of Africans’ mobile health care. Free and easy-to-use, these mobile apps are educating Africans on ways to stay healthy and are providing simple access to health facilities and frontline health workers.
Maternal health mobile apps are one way the tech sector is hoping to reduce the number of maternal deaths in sub-Saharan Africa where the maternal mortality ratios are the highest. Here are five mobile apps that saving mothers’ lives in Africa.