By Nahimat Davies-Adekoga
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has developed an electronic solution to reduce the high labour-related child and maternal death rate in sub-Saharan Africa.
The electronic health solution, which is a software tagged Simplified, Effective, Labour Monitoring-to-Action (SELMA) tool, would be built into mobile phones, tablets and other mobile devices.
The software was developed by a team of researchers, led by João Paulo Souza, a Medical Officer at the WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research, and a professor of Social Medicine at the Ribeirão Preto Medical School, University of São Paulo, Brazil.
Other members of the team include Prof. Olufemi Oladapo, a medical officer at the Department of Reproductive Health and Research, WHO Geneva, Switzerland; Dr. Bukola Fawole, an obstetrician/gynaecologist in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Oyo State and Dr. Livia Oliveira-Ciabati of the University of Sao Paulo.
The team, at a study dissemination meeting in Abuja, said they used hospital-based study on 10,000 pregnant women in Nigeria and Uganda, promising to have the test version ready by November 2016, which would be used in a large study next year.
Souza said: “In November, we will release it for testing, and we hope by the end of next year, it will be ready for public use.”
One of the researchers, Dr. Fawole said that the software was a product of the study conducted with the data of over 10,000 deliveries from Nigeria and Uganda.
He said that the software acts as an artificial intelligence which helps health care providers on how best to treat women in labour, by inputting the data of the women in the software to identify how similar women were managed before.
“The benefits of the software is such that hopefully when the suggestions are taken, it will reduce adverse outcomes in both the mothers and the babies and we look forward to the implementation of this software when it eventually comes out.”
He, however, emphasised that although the software enhances the capacity of less skilled persons working in rural areas but does not replace the expertise of a specialist.