Pakistan has the third highest burden of maternal, foetal and child mortality in the world. Gaps in both health service delivery and policy levels have led to deteriorating Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) outcomes, especially in remote and rural areas.
In 2018, AKDN dHRC in collaboration with the Aga Khan Health Service, Pakistan (AKHS, P) developed and launched an mHealth app, Nighedaasht, in remote, rural areas of Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral, Pakistan in efforts to improve MNCH outcomes. The app is used by community midwives (CMWs) during community visits and physicians in health facilities. It aims to improve the quality, coverage and access to MNCH services by digitising antenatal care, the delivery process and postnatal care; strengthening the referral system between community midwives (CMWs) and gynaecologists; and building capacity of CMWs through educational videos.
Apart from this, the application’s social franchising model is allowing CMWs to earn an additional income by assisting with deliveries and selling supplies for family planning, Antenatal Care (ANC), Postnatal Care (PNC) and general care. Malika Zohra, a CMW working in Gilgit, has been able to enhance her income by PKR 12,000 to meet her family’s growing financial needs.
From January to April 2019, Nighedaasht has helped serve 1224 mothers; supported community midwives with 556 deliveries and tracked 138 referrals. Currently, the app is being used by 49 midwives and 8 physicians.
The Nighedaasht was awarded the top prize for the Maternal and Neonatal Health category at the Commonwealth Digital Health Awards (CDHA) 2018. CDHA 2018 was organised by the Commonwealth Centre for Digital Health in association with the British Medical Journal, in Colombo, Sri Lanka on October 11-12, 2018. Each year, the CDHA Awards recognise the best digital health innovations in the 53 Commonwealth countries, which strive to raise the standard of healthcare and wellbeing.
Nighedaasht ensures pregnant women and new mothers are able to receive the care they need during pregnancy, delivery and after birth, aiming to curb maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity rates. The app was developed for the AQCESS Project, funded by the Aga Khan Foundation Canada and Global Affairs Canada. Plans are to expand functionality of the app to include family planning and tracking of child growth, illnesses, treatment and immunisations.