BabyMed is an integrated and innovative mobile health platform that provides easy and affordable access to reliable maternal and child health care information and services. The platform provides important weekly health messages to pregnant women, mothers with newborn babies, and their family members. It comprises of SMS text messages, voice messages, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) on web information portal.
The major aim of BabyMed is to empower pregnant women and their partners to take the steps necessary for a healthy pregnancy and safe delivery. The SMS text and voice messaging service integrates all the healthy pregnancy and safe motherhood topics under one platform. This includes early and complete ANC attendance, malaria prevention, the prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV (PMTCT), individual birth planning, and safe delivery.
In African nations (Kenya in particular), 6000 women die every year due to preventable pregnancy or childbirth problems. The doctor to patient ratio in Kenya is 1:17,000 (WHO recommends 1:1000). Due to a lack of collective community knowledge for safe and healthy pregnancy and 75% of the Kenya population living in the rural areas, pregnant women and mothers may delay seeking care or taking appropriate preventative or curative action.
To resolve this situation, BabyMed is on a mission to save the lives of the 6000 pregnant women, guardians of young children, and women of child-bearing age who die every day in Kenya due to preventable pregnancy or childbirth problems.
About the Compassionate Leader
Bryan Okello, the Founder/CEO is a highly motivated, passionate, and result oriented professional. He has a keen interest on engaging, developing, and impacting communities through information communication technologies to deliver highly effective and creative solutions to business and technology challenges. Bryan has been in accounting, finance and business information technology, hands-on software training, and web development for more than ten years.
Bryan is passionate about transforming maternal and child health care in Kenya and in Africa through the utilization of mobile and digital technology. His inspiration for coming up with BabyMed is the desire to see a world where no woman should die while bringing life to this world and every child born should grow to realize its full potential.
Uniqueness at its Best
BabyMed provides age and stage-based messages aligned with global best practices, empowering women to make the best decisions for themselves and their families. The company leverages the high number of mobile devices to inform and empower mothers to adopt healthy behaviors and to access maternal and child health services. With increased access to high quality, relevant local health information, mothers and families would demonstrate improved health-seeking and preventative behaviors, including uptake of antenatal care, early care-seeking in response to childhood illness, hand washing, cord care, etc., that should ultimately contribute to improved maternal and child survival.
Besides, BabyMed’s SMS and audio messages are targeted to a woman’s stage of pregnancy or the age of her child so that the information reflects exactly what she is experiencing at a particular time. This helps to build an emotional connection with the mother and a sense of trust, making it more likely that she will be receptive to messages that encourage changes in behavior. The messaging program accompanies each mother on her journey of learning and discovery and acts as a step-by-step guide to a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. BabyMed provides ICT consultancy, innovative solutions for the education sector, and web design and development.
Talking about social activities, the company conducts Twitter chats on maternal and child health issues and also organizes marathons (Beyond Zero marathon) and walks targeted at highlighting maternal and child health mortality. Not only this, but BabyMed also advocates and promotes exclusive breastfeeding for children aged 0-6 months.
Awards and Recognitions
- Top application in the health category in the Safari.com app developer challenge
- Top Ten Finalist in the Women & Access to Health Call for Initiatives! In April 2019, Bryan Okello was shortlisted as one of the top ten finalists (the only finalist from Africa) in Women & Access to Health Call for Initiatives! Organized by the Women’s Forum.
- Publication of BabyMed’s story in the StartUp Health Magazine
- Partnership with StartUp Health. In June 2016, BabyMed was selected by StartUp Health to join its Portfolio of Digital Health Companies working to transform Health Care with Bryan Okello becoming the First Healthcare Transformer from Africa to join the academy. This was a very important milestone for the company because guidance from StartUp Health and access to its networks will be crucial in accelerating our growth. StartUp Health is leading a global movement to transform health by organizing and investing in the world’s largest community of Healthcare Transformers. With the coaching, support and promotion from StartUp Health Academy, BabyMed is now well placed to transform maternal and child health care in Kenya.
BabyMed advices the budding entrepreneurs in the healthcare space to Anticipate Potential Snags i.e. every meeting is an opportunity to develop and grow. No doubt, there will be some mistakes along the way, but if they can’t be avoided, one should remember that learning is a continuous process.
Secondly, it suggests to Think Small, At First. As the world of healthcare is very much regimented, innovation may be something completely world-changing in time, but at first, one should focus on getting it adopted on a small-scale basis where its effectiveness can be proven.
Lastly, it recommends to Get Out There because the company believes that spending as much possible time in the exact environment the product will be used in, will give an idea of the nuances and potential issues that will come with its use.
Strategic Plan for a Glorious Future
- Sign up one million users
- Translation of messages to local languages such as Kiswahili, Kikuyu, Luo, Kamba, Kalenjin
- Set up BabyMed Social: An interactive social network where mothers can read articles and have a conversation with their peers
- Set up BabyMed on USSD in order to offer weekly two interactive quizzes tailored to mothers’ gestational stage or the age of their baby
- Expand to other east African countries such as Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda. Institute a monthly block knowledge sharing sessions that bring together all expectant mothers registered at a facility for information sharing in a group.
- Set up Maternal Health Corners with partnering health facilities made up of a set of computers that have been programmed with content (audio, video, and text) for the benefit of health workers
What’s next in the Store?
BabyMed would be launching its android mobile app as well as its redesigned website. The company would be signing up partnership agreement with Uridu.org. URIDU is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that empowers rural women in developing and emerging countries. Also, discussions are a in an advanced stage to partner with ‘Africa’s Talking’ to facilitate scale up of its mobile service to all parts of Kenya.