Pakistani mobile app for neonatal care wins first prize

MN Report 08:29 PM, 20 Aug, 2022
Pakistani mobile app for neonatal care wins first prize

KARACHI: The Hayat mobile application from Aga Khan University has been honoured for its originality and innovation at the international Commonwealth Digital Health Awards (CWDHA) 2022.

At the 5th CWDHA, the app won first place in the Maternity and Neonatal Health category for demonstrating improvements in reproductive, maternal, neonatal, and child health (RMNCH) care services.

Due to the substantial growth in digital health advances during and after the COVID-19 epidemic, this year's competition was the most intense to date. 

The Maternal and Neonatal Health category garnered many nominations from around the world, but only 10, including Hayat, were shortlisted for the final round.

Despite significant investments in infrastructural and human resource development, Pakistan has some of the lowest RMNCH health metrics in the world. 

The maternal mortality ratio (MMR) and neonatal mortality ratio are currently 186 per 100,000 live births and 40 per 1,000 live births, respectively, indicating an urgent need for practical solutions to reach the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets of MMR 70 and NMR 12 by 2030. The disparity between MMR and NMR in rural Pakistan is 26% greater than in urban areas.

Hayat was implemented in rural parts of Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral in 2019 to combat these problems and improve access to RMNCH, vaccination, and child growth programmes. 

The application digitises health worker operations and enhances remote monitoring and tracking of their field activities, eliminating the need for manual, paper-based recording in registers. 

It includes a complete monitoring infrastructure, referred to as the Hayat online portal, to provide remote supervision by government administrators in real-time, increase transparency and accountability, and enable effective and fast decision-making and proper resource allocation.

"Pakistan's health system is inefficient due to the underperformance of health personnel and the absence of accountability and transparency, which results in bad governance. 

These obstacles disproportionately affect women of reproductive age and children, and Hayat is working to alleviate them by utilising novel digital health technologies to increase productivity and monitoring, according to Saleem Sayani, Hayat's principal investigator.

Hayat is being implemented by Aga Khan University and Aga Khan Health Service, Pakistan (AKHS, P) in collaboration with the Department of Health, Gilgit-Baltistan and the Department of Health, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to accomplish SDG 3: Health and well-being for everyone.

"Our goal is to support the implementation, extension, and sustainability of digital health innovations in conjunction with the government in Gilgit-Baltistan and KPK to enhance health outcomes for neglected communities in northern Pakistan," stated Nadeem Abbas, CEO of AKHS, P. 

In its fourth year of implementation, Hayat has been utilised by 485 health care professionals and has reached over 320,000 beneficiaries.

Grand Challenges Canada, Global Affairs Canada, and the Aga Khan Foundation have contributed to the funding of Hayat.



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