With 917 deaths per 100,000 live births, the maternal mortality rate in Nigeria is the fourth highest in the world. Only Sierra Leone, Chad, and South Sudan have a higher rate. The United States has the second-highest infant mortality rate in the world, with over 262,000 infants dying shortly after delivery each year.
Nigeria has less than 3% of the world’s people, but 10% of all deaths of pregnant women happen there.
These numbers are almost certainly low, given fewer than half of the children in Nigeria younger than five years old had their births registered when they were born.
According to the findings of recent studies, the most common causes of mortality among mothers in Nigeria are severe bleeding, eclampsia, sepsis, and complications resulting from botched abortions.
HelpMum, a health tech startup in Nigeria, has been working to solve these problems, except for unsafe abortions. In Nigeria, having an abortion is punishable by a lengthy prison sentence unless the procedure is carried out o save the pregnant woman’s life.
Recently, the Patrick McGovern Foundation awarded a grant for $250,000 to the startup company to support the deployment of the company’s AI-Driven Vaccine Intervention Optimiser (ADVISER).
The ADVISER framework is based on an integer linear program that tries to increase the overall likelihood of vaccination success.
As part of the Google AI for Social Good program, the framework was initially developed through cooperation by HelpMum and Vanderbilt University, a private research university. At the 2022 International Joint Conferences on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI), the framework also won the top prize in the good social category for improving children’s health and well-being in Nigeria.
The health startup was established in 2017 by Abiodun Adereni, a student at the University of Ibadan. The company uses ses technology and inexpensive birth kits to combat maternal and newborn mortality.
During a call with TechCabal, Adereni stated that while taking a course, he realized that pregnant women in rural areas who keep animals around them put their unborn children at risk of contracting toxoplasmosis.
He stated that this realization was what prompted him to launch HelpMum. After providing fundamental medical assistance to these women, he observed that most child fatalities might have been avoided.
After that, he began forming partnerships with organizations with the same commitment to addressing these problems. This new business venture has been awarded a total of $500,000 in grants, including $250,000 from Google, $5,000 from the United Nations, $50,000 from Global Citizen, and $55,000 from Facebook.
According to Adrieni, most of these grants have been put toward developing technological solutions to problems related to maternal and newborn mortality.HelpMum has built an ecosystem of applications in addition to supplying clean birth kits. These applications include a vaccination monitoring system, an e-commerce platform, a pregnancy tracker, and several other features.
HelpMum has formed a partnership with the government of Oyo State to make all primary health centers in the state available to provide access to these applications for women living in remote areas. Adrieni also mentioned during the conference that HelpMum has registered 60,000 moms thanks to the vaccination monitoring system and that the organization has seen a 45% rise in the number of vaccinations administered since its inception in 2019.
He said more than 2,000 health care workers had used the e-learning platform. This is because of a deal with Facebook to give community health workers free mobile tablets.
The Patrick McGovern Foundation brings together leading thinkers from all sectors of society, including academia, business, and civil society, to investigate the potential applications of artificial intelligence (AI) and data science in resolving some of the world’s most pressing problems. Since it was established in 2014, the organization has distributed more than $300 million in grants.