According to UNICEF, every single day Nigeria loses about 2,300 under-five year olds and 145 women of child bearing age, making Nigeria the second largest contributor to maternal and child mortality in the world.
The reason for this is not far-fetched; most mothers in Nigeria’s rural communities often lack information about what services they need, what they can do, how often and when they need to seek the services. The ‘traditional’ means of ensuring access to health care have become grossly inadequate. Innovative and cost-effective solutions must be found that can empower and engage pregnant women and mothers on antenatal and postnatal care, as well as child care.
MOBicure has come up with a solution called OMOMI. OMOMI (meaning ‘my child’) is a mobile health platform consisting of an app and an SMS service, and it enables mothers and expectant mothers monitor their children’s health, as well as provide access to relevant maternal and child health information plus medical expertise, all at the touch of a button.
The multi-award winning OMOMI is developed by MOBicure, a mhealth start-up based in Nigeria that provides mobile technology solutions to solve some of Nigeria’s and indeed Africa’s biggest health issues. The hugely successful OMOMI SMS service is proudly supported in Nigeria by the U.S. State Department and the service already has over 1,500 users (mostly lower income mothers in the rural areas) across the country in just the first four months alone. The SMS service is a simple SMS short code service that provides timely, relevant and personalized health information for women right from pregnancy through child birth and beyond.
The success of OMOMI, particularly the SMS service has been due to in large parts to our aggressive and out-of-the-box marketing approach. This became necessary because due to the novelty of our innovation in Nigeria, we realized that our biggest challenge would be low acceptance of a new way of receiving healthcare information as our target market (mothers) were already used to more ‘traditional’ ways of healthcare delivery. The rightly discovered that this challenge would be overcome by a robust marketing approach.
Learn and Launch is a fantastic opportunity for me to share with my fellow healthcare innovators on what has worked for us thus far especially as regards marketing for OMOMI. It is also an opportunity to learn from my peers, as well as jointly test potential new practices that will help OMOMI tackle even more successfully our challenges in the area of marketing and demand generation. Most importantly, the Learn and Launch grant would enable us implement these new practices learnt and pilot new activities in order to overcome the operational roadblock of marketing and demand generation.
Blog by Dr. Charles Akhimien- Co-founder, MOBicure