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Improving maternal healthcare in Senegal with support from Mobile Health Alliance and Norad

The mHealth Alliance and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) announced that WAHA International is one of the winners of the catalytic grants provided through the Innovation Working Group (IWG), in support of the Every Woman, Every Child movement.

This grant will support maternal health projects in Senegal through the distribution of mobile phones to health workers and widespread educational SMS campaigns.

“Thanks to the funding from mHealth Alliance and Norad we will be able to reach communities in the Tambacounda region in Senegal in an innovative way, using mobile phones to help us accelerate maternal health services,” said Cheikh Mbaye, General Manager of WAHA International. “This region has one of the highest maternal death rates in the country so this support will save lives.”

WAHA International already has an existing agreement with the Ministry of Health in Senegal to provide maternal and neonatal healthcare. A similar mobile health project was pilot tested in Saraya district in Kedougou, Senegal, in 2010. In addition to WAHA’s projects in Kedougou, WAHA has conducted fistula campaigns with renowned surgeon Dr. Serigne Gueye and donated motorbike ambulances.

“As we have already conducted campaigns and projects in Senegal we are hoping that in the future the mobile health project can be extended throughout the country,” said Mbaye.

Mobile phones to improve access to healthcare

Using mobile phones to improve access to health care is a promising innovation in the development sector today. By using this technique we can increase our capacity to reach the most disadvantaged communities. WAHA has already started working with communities in Senegal and Ethiopia in using mobile phones to improve referral systems and access to health care.

About the IWG catalytic grants

In a press release from the mHealth Alliance a total of 10 mobile health projects in countries across Africa and Asia were selected to receive grants this year. These grants, funded by Norad and administered in partnership with the World Health Organization Special Program of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction (WHO, HRP), aim to assist mobile health projects in moving beyond the pilot phase to achieve scale. Collectively, the IWG grantees aspire to reach nearly 31 million people spread across communities in 14 countries with lifesaving messaging and services.

In addition to catalytic funding, these competitive grants offer targeted technical assistance, provided by the mHealth Alliance and WHO. This assistance helps guide grantees through critical, yet challenging, processes along the path to scaling up. During the two-year grant period, grant winners will have the opportunity to not only receive technical assistance but also to collaborate and share lessons learned with each other and the previous rounds of grantees. The shared learning will, in turn, contribute to the global mHealth community's understanding of best practices for scaling up mobile health services. For more information on the grants please visit: