We have recently stumbled across an innovative aid to pregnant refugees that we could not keep to ourselves: an app called HaBaby.
While maternal health has been of constant importance in the sphere of women’s rights, the topics and risks within maternal health evolve with the evolving world. This evolution means different populations are at increased risk for poor maternal health outcomes. Today, the staggering number of displaced persons and refugees is a huge population lacking sufficient maternal and newborn health resources. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there are currently 65.3 million forcibly displaced people worldwide, 21.3 million of who are refugees.
Conflict settings and displacement greatly impact the health of mothers and newborns. “Over 60 percent of the world’s maternal deaths occur in 10 countries, nine of which are currently experiencing or emerging from conflict,” reports the Women’s Refugee Commission. This is true for a number of reasons. Conflict settings and displacement put women at an increased risk for sexual abuse and violence, which can lead to unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions. Health systems in refugee settings are often unequipped to provide complete antenatal and postnatal care. Furthermore, it is usually difficult for women to receive information that is reliable and specific to their needs during pregnancy.
This lack of access to reliable information was the driving force behind the designers of HaBaby. HaBaby is a web app for prenatal and postnatal care for refugee women and children. The app allows a woman to choose a language and then find information specific to her trimester, symptoms, and country, including medications and free support options in a given country. There is an anonymous message board and an option to live chat with a healthcare professional. The app is free and much of it works offline. This solution is new to the field, so it has not been tested or used widely, but we are confident in the potential of HaBaby for pregnant refugees.
This is the kind of work that we love to see at Maternova. It is a creative but simple solution to fill a gap in maternal health and provide help in a population where it is more than needed. As the refugee crisis continues, we must look for solutions and ways to improve health outcomes. While developing stronger health systems for refugees and displaced people is necessary, ideas like HaBaby can serve as a temporary solution to pressing problems in today’s field of maternal health.
To contact the HaBaby team, email firstname.lastname@example.org