Very encouraging results for the "A Call for Life" program

In Benin, 1,500 women die each year from complications related to pregnancy, childbirth or the puerperium – a total of 125 women a month. To improve monitoring and access to care for pregnant women as early as possible, the Sanofi Espoir Foundation has supported the implementation of the innovative "A Call for Life" program with its CARE partner, the Ouinhi municipal authorities and the Ministry of Health of Benin.

Applying a participatory, pilot approach, this program helps manage obstetric and neonatal emergencies better by providing training to healthcare professionals and using mobile phones.

Today, three years after it began, this innovative project is delivering results. It has ensured access to healthcare to more than 6,300 women and raised awareness among more than 25,000 women about best practices and danger signs, especially by making medical information available in their local language.

Evaluations conducted by independent experts, together with a knowledge-sharing workshop held in Cotonou on January 15, 2015 for all actors involved in the project (health workers, local authorities, humanitarian teams and beneficiaries), demonstrated the following outcomes:

  • Better monitoring of pregnant women by community workers equipped with pregnancy-tracking software.
  • Faster referrals to health centers in emergencies by using mobile phones that facilitate communication between communities and health centers.
  • Better knowledge among women of the danger signs associated with pregnancy.
  • EmONC (Obstetric Care and Neonatal Emergency) capacity-building for health staff and improved medical monitoring and diagnostic support by using software on mobile phones.
  • Increased use of health centers due to greater recognition by communities of healthcare players.

The workshop ended with a press conference on January 16 in the presence of the Minister of Health, Dorothée Gazard; the Director of Care Benin, Claudine Mensah; and the Sanofi Espoir Foundation Managing Director, Caty Forget, in presence of fifty local journalists.

The Ouinhi municipality is one of the areas in our country where there is still a high rate of maternal and infant mortality, ... I will say again that the “A call for life” initiative has proved effective. It has provided a framework to ensure useful information, rapid medical evacuation, and access to quality care.

The Ministry of Health of Benin

The Minister of Health engaged to have the project reproduced in other health areas in Benin. She also confirmed that the use of technology is one of the strategic priorities of her ministry and it would be widely deployed in the country.

The commitment of the Ministry of Health will be indispensable for the project’s sustainability and scale-up. The redeployment of midwives to priority areas and keeping them on-site will also be a key progress point. The ongoing evaluation on this issue will be closely monitored by the Sanofi Espoir Foundation, which has made training midwives a key priority.

Watch the project presentation video

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