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40 pct. knowledge increase among midwives after using lifesaving Danish app

A recent study shows a sizeable impact for midwives, who have been using Safe Delivery, a Danish smartphone app for skilled birth attendants. The app is aiming to play a role in bringing down the birth-related deaths particularly in the rural areas of Ghana.


Fareeda, a midwife from Talon Health Center in Northern Region, has benefitted imensely from using the Danish app.

“I have many success-stories from using the app, and since I started using it more people have built stronger confidence in me. It helps me save lives,” Fareeda Tinorgah Yelgie says.
 
She is one of the midwives, who have benefitted hugely from the Safe Delivery smartphone app in her work. The app - developed by the Danish organisation Maternity Foundation in cooperation with the University of Copenhagen and the University of Southern Denmark - provides life-saving information and guidance through animated instruction videos, action cards, drug lists and a quiz-like learning tool to engage the users.

A new study carried out by NORSAAC – an NGO based in Tamale – and GHS on the effect of the Safe Delivery app among midwives in the Northern region has found that users on average have increased their vocational knowledge by 40 pct. after only three months of using the app.

“The Safe Delivery app has made me more confident in my work. We are only two midwives in my health center, so the app is my doctor and I use it to revise my knowledge,” says Fareeda Tinorgah Yelgie.

Important for remote and rural areas
The app was launched in Ghana in December and has since January 2018 been implemented in the Northern region among 58 midwives as part of the NORSAAC study. The plan is to closely monitor the impact of the app among midwives, and at the midterm evaluation in May it has proven to have very positive outputs.

“Regarding use, about 89 pct. of the midwives taught to use the app in January uses it on a weekly basis. The majority of which use it up to three times weekly,” says Amiru Danaa Isah – M&E Manager at NORSAAC. He continues:

“Those in the remote areas need this app very, very much. It is found very useful and we should find ways of exposing the app to personnel in the hinterlands of Ghana.”


The app is free to download and so far over 47,400 people have done so around the world.

The need for spreading the app to rural areas of Ghana is recognized by Fareeda Tinorgah Yelgie, who says that the lack of ambulances and taxis in her village makes it difficult to refer patients to the Tamale Hospital, as it is hours away by car. The app has relieved her in instances, where there has been urgent complications and no chance of getting the patient to a doctor.

“I had an abortion case where the infant had died in week 22 in the mother’s womb. The woman was in labour and the dead infant already had one leg out. I had to refer her to the Tamale hospital, but she could not even sit on a motorcycle. I used the app to help her right there. Again, the app was my doctor and the birth went fine,” she said.

Implementing new protocols at Mathias Catholic Hospital
The app is becoming a more and more vital part of the Ghanaian health system. Most of the personnel use the app to revise their professional knowledge.

At the Mathias Catholic Hospital in Yeji, Brong-Ahafo region, they have started deriving protocols from the app. This has led to better management of cases, and the app provides an easy-to-understand reference point for midwives, staff at the Mathias Catholic Hospital report.

The correlation between the implementation of the app at the Mathias Catholic Hospital and birth-related deaths also point to the significant improvements. According to the hospital, in the first five months of 2018, as app was gradually more often used, neonatal deaths have gone down 61 pct. and maternal deaths have fallen 75 pct. compared to the first five months of 2017, despite the birth rate increasing.

Taking care of maternal mortality globally
Since the beginning of 2017 Maternity Foundation and UNFPA have embarked on a partnership to adapt the app to Ministry of Health guidelines and procedures in Ghana. The Ghana version of the app was completed in December last year and was launched at the Danish Embassy with the participation of a large cross section of stakeholders. It has already had over 1,900 downloads by health professionals and has about 900 active users in Ghana.

However, Ghana is a new implementer of the app, and very successful already. The app is already part of global initiative by the Maternity Foundation, based in Denmark, in cooperation with 24 partner organisations that are helping to implement the app among skilled birth attendants.

“The app is based on WHO guidelines and validated by and international group of health experts; it does not need to be connected to the internet, except at the time of the download. And it is distributed with assistance of our partner associations like the UNFPA in Ghana,” explains Laruen Bellhouse, mHealth Manager at Maternity Foundation.
Its usefulness has ensured that the app is used in 40 countries, and it has been downloaded over 47,400 times.

Download the app for free
The Save Delivery App can be downloaded free of charge from this link Download to iPhone or iPad or Download to android.  For further information, please contact Lauren Bellhouse n at lauren@maternity.dk or Charlotte Kanstrup at kanstrup@unfpa.org.