Wangmo Thapa crosses high mountain passes on foot to get to her patients. She carries a small backpack with medical supplies, but the true gift that she’s carrying is her extensive training in delivering babies. She’s one of the rare women in Dolpa, Nepal, trained by One Heart World-Wide to help ensure that more women give birth safely in a country where 75 infants and 12 women die in childbirth every day; many of them needlessly due to inadequate care.
The problem isn’t care. It’s coordination. There are hospitals and health posts in Dolpa, but they are limited. Luckily, thanks to One Heart World-Wide, there are a growing number of skilled birth attendants like Wangmo who travel to help. Many communities are a two- or three-hour walk from the nearest point of care (on foot, over mountains, and in labor). Technology is being employed more and more to bridge that gap.
Technology as a tool, not a solution
Hope Phones by Medic Mobile and Samahope are working together to bridge the gap in care by using technology to further One Heart World-Wide’s mission. Now, everyone around the world can help connect care to a new district of Nepal, the Dhading district, through this joint campaign.
Samahope uses the Internet to connect a donor in Florida’s flatlands and Wangmo at 16,404 feet in the Nepali mountains. The Samahope team crowdfunds for doctors to perform life-changing medical surgeries for women and children who cannot afford them. Samahope believes in the power of Internet and the crowd; by pooling donations, collectively increasing the impact that each one of us can have. This video explains how it works.
On Samahope’s website you can pick your favorite doctor and type of treatment online, using your phone, tablet or laptop, and donate on the spot. 100% of your donations go to the patient treatment; in Wangmo’s case, $50 will fund an entire safe birth, including prenatal & postnatal care, medication, and Wangmo’s assistance during delivery. After, the doctor will send you a monthly report of what happened with your donation.
The Medic Mobile team provides cell phones to female community health volunteers (FCHVs) who serve as advocates for their community but are not trained doctors. These $10 dollar phones are equipped with a small parallel SIM that slides in over the existing SIM card so that any phone can run the Medic Mobile app. The app schedules reminders for antenatal and postnatal care visits, monitors the status of the patient, and can be used to notify Wangmo and other skilled birth attendants if a woman is in labor or at risk.
Medic Mobile works on a series of devices from feature phones to smart phones depending on the location, connectivity, and project.
Never losing sight
Tsering’s mom, Tashi, suffers from heart disease, which put her at high-risk of postpartum hemorrhage. Despite her condition, she managed the 8-day hike over 2 passes above 17,400 feet to reach a birthing center, all while being 8 and a half months pregnant. She made it just in time. During the delivery, Wangmo was by Tashi’s side, making sure that Tashi had all the care and medical support she needed. Tashi suffered very little blood loss and no severe complications, and gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, Tsering.
Click here to learn more about this joint campaign.