Crecer con Salud – Virtual Assistant for pregnancy and early childhood

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In Argentina 30% of women do not comply with prenatal check-ups and almost 1 in 10 have their first contact with the health system at the time of birth.
"Crecer con Salud" is a virtual assistant based on Facebook Messenger that works outside the health system, identifying and recruiting pregnant women where they are. The bot is designed to accompany women during their pregnancy and the baby's first year with personalized information and reminders of attendance to pre and post natal check-ups.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

The reduction in three quarters of the ratio of maternal mortality (RMM) in 2015 was the 5th of the Millennium Development Goals. Argentina assumed this commitment, in order to fulfill it, the RMM of 2015 should have reached 1.3 x 10,000 live births. However, the ratio for that year was 3 times higher than desired. Infant mortality rate in Argentina is also higher than expected, reaching 9.7 per 1,000 live births during 2016. 70% of these cases of infant mortality are preventable.

One of the most successful strategies to reduce morbidity and mortality of pregnant women and their babies is to have at least 5 prenatal check-ups, being the first within 13 weeks of gestation. In Argentina more than 30% of women do not comply with these prenatal check-ups and almost 1 in 10 have their first contact with the health system at the time of birth.

"Crecer con Salud" is a virtual assistant (a bot) based on facebook messenger designed to accompany women during their pregnancy and the baby's first year with personalized information according to the week of gestation and to baby’s age when born, and reminders of attendance to pre- and post-natal check-ups.

“Crecer con Salud” aims to:
- Increase the number of prenatal check-ups in women who use it.
- Reduce the absence to check-ups by tackling the fear of going through check-ups
- Empower women
-- Respected labor
-- Know what is the basic standard of practices that should receive and when.
- Promote breastfeeding
- Provide personalized official information about pregnancy, baby's first year and health care
- Simplify the access to social benefits linked to pregnancy

More than 20 million people do not have health coverage in Argentina, "Crecer con Salud" targets pregnant women and mothers with babies under 1 years of age in Argentina.

We chose the communication channel for the bot thinking about the needs of women in Argentina, looking for a simple, direct and easy way to interact.

Argentina has 40 million mobile phone lines of which 70% are prepaid, which showed a low predisposition to send text messages due to the cost to the user.

Our research in maternity hospitals and interviews with pregnant women revealed that 90% used facebook and whatsapp on their mobile phones.

This result led us to think and develop the bot based on Facebook Messenger, given that more than 30 million users are Argentines.

The first stage of implementation is Pilar, Province of Buenos Aires, that has 4,000 deliveries per year and a infant mortality rate of 11 per 1,000 live births.

We are enrolling a population of pregnant women to see the evolution and adoption of the bot. Together with the epidemiological team of the Ministry of Health of Argentina, we will evaluate in a sample of 800 women the sanitary impact of the tool, by measuring the prevalence of women with proper prenatal control.

If the result obtained from the first stage of implementation shows an positive impact will continue to the stage of expansion, deploying the bot nationwide.

"Crecer con Salud" is simple to access and easily scalable (does not require geographic adaptation or additional cost). It bridges accessibility to health services for a population that is away from it.

Innovation Description

Innovation Development

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Year: 2018
Level of government: National/Federal government

Status:

  • Implementation - making the innovation happen
  • Evaluation - understanding whether the innovative initiative has delivered what was needed

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