In countries with high maternal mortality, many deaths could be avoided with simple antenatal care services. But in low-resource areas, or regions affected by war and natural disasters, identifying high-risk pregnancies in time to reduce maternal and infant mortality can be challenging.
To improve the situation and in response to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal to ensure good health for all, the High-Risk Pregnancy (HRP) Referral Tool was developed.
Created jointly by Philips Experience Design, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Philips Foundation, the tool translates technical medical knowledge into pictorial illustrations and easy to digest information related to pregnancy on portable cards. Designed to equip traditional birth attendants and healthcare volunteers with reliable knowledge, the cards are low-cost and tear resistant. They can be carried alongside workers’ usual equipment on household visits and can be used in culturally sensitive communities.
Following a 15-month evidence-based study in Kenyan counties’- Siaya and Bomet, healthcare workers reported a reduction in the number of high-risk complications in pregnancy, which they attributed to timely referrals related to the use of the HRP cards.
485 women with pregnancy risks were identified and referred to healthcare centres; antenatal care visits increased at the facilities in Bomet and Siaya, while home deliveries fell 10% and 6% in these areas. What’s more, 75% of women reached in Siaya and 91% in Bomet gained new knowledge on pregnancy risks and danger signs.
The HRP referral tool has helped train 700 healthcare workers and touched the lives of over 280,000 women and their families in Kenya and there are now plans to scale the tool to reach remote communities in China.