HelpMum: Story, Founders, Investors & Funding Rounds
Founded in 2017 by Abiodun Adereni, a student at the University of Ibadan at the time, the health startup uses technology and low-cost birth kits to tackle maternal and infant mortality.
While taking a course, he realized that pregnant women in rural areas who keep animals around them expose their unborn children to toxoplasmosis.
This realization made him start HelpMum, and after providing basic healthcare services to these women, he noticed that most infant deaths could be preventable.
He then started partnering with organizations that shared the same passion for these issues.
With the vaccination tracking system, HelpMum has been able to register 60,000 mothers and has achieved a 45% increase in vaccination output since its launch in 2019.
Additionally, over 2,000 healthcare professionals have used the e-learning platform, and this is because of a partnership with Facebook to supply free mobile tablets to community health workers.
HelpMum’s free birth kits have also surpassed the 10,000 mark in over 100 communities with a 90% success rate.
How it Works
According to the World Health Organization, Nigeria has one of the highest under-five mortality rates in the world.
Deaths of newborns in Nigeria represent a quarter of the total number of deaths of children under the age of five.
Identifying the causes of these deaths is the first step toward seeing a change.
One in every 13 children born in Nigeria dies before their first birthday. One in eight do not survive until their fifth birthday. Statistics show many of the infant deaths in Nigeria are from pneumonia, a vaccine-preventable disease.
These deaths can be prevented if the causes are addressed.
Infant and maternal mortality is one of the leading public health problems globally.
This problem is much worse in Africa and developing countries around the world.
According to UNICEF; Every single day, Nigeria loses about 2300 children under the age of five and 145 women of childbearing age. This makes the country the second largest contributor to the under-five and maternal mortality rate in the world.
This phenomenon is an important indicator of the health care system of the nation as it is associated with several factors such as maternal health, quality and access to medical care, socioeconomic condition, and public health practices.
Children have access to health care only when their mothers have access. Most women who live in rural communities are not well informed and do not know the importance of medical attention during and after pregnancy, and delivery in a safe and clinical setting. Those who see the need for it, do not have access to these services.
The lack of public health facilities, clean birth kits, and adequate information has resulted in the low implementation of quality health care for mothers and consequently, their children.
These women do not present their children for immunization at appropriate times, give the essential supplements, and seek the required medical attention for themselves and their children, thereby resulting in the high mortality rate of these children before age five.
HelpMum AI Innovation (Advisor)
HelpMum ADVISER framework (AI-Driven Vaccination Optimization Framework), is a state-of-the-art data-driven AI(artificial intelligence) smart assistant for increasing the efficacy of vaccination programs in resource-constrained settings.
HelpMum Vaccination Tracker
HelpMum Vaccination Tracker is a mobile application for parents to ensure they do not miss any of their children’s vaccination appointments.
The HelpMum vaccination tracker automatically generates babies’ vaccination appointments from childbirth till 9 years old.
It ensures that parents receive a reminder message and also keeps them better informed about the importance of every vaccine their children receive.
The HelpMum Vaccination tracker is also available for use in primary healthcare centers and hospitals to improve immunization outcomes.
HelpMum Research was launched to leverage data-driven techniques and artificial intelligence to develop innovations that enhance maternal and infant healthcare across Nigeria and Africa.
One of the early accomplishments of HelpMum Research is the creation of HelpMum ADVISER.
Digital Health Café
The HelpMum Digital Health café is a wholly renovated maternity home that has been well equipped to provide quality health care to pregnant women in the rural community.
It also serves as a training home for community birth attendants, and many other health programs and research activities have been hosted in the health café.
HelpMum is committed to building a system where women are recognized, empowered, and appreciated.
Community health workers( women ) are digitally empowered with digital tools (like HelpMum Free Mobile Tablet) with the content of our E-learning Platform which they use to avert maternal mortality in remote rural areas in Nigeria.
Women are also responsible for producing the HelpMum clean birth kit bags and face masks, and with this contract, they have been making enough profit to cater to their families.
The HelpMum Digital E-learning platform was created to give community birth attendants all over the country easy access to all of their training.
These birth attendants are given free mobile tablets containing pre-recorded videos that cover teachings on salient topics across their work, so they can acquire more knowledge and refer to the instructions whenever necessary.
This innovation has also helped them to train more birth attendants in their various communities.
HelpMum Clean Birth Kit
They provide basic HelpMum Clean Birth Kits which contain essential supplies required at childbirth to ensure a clean, safe, and hygienic delivery in remote rural areas, fully involving the community birth attendants (women).
Dr Abiodun Adereni
Dr. Abiodun Adereni is the Founder and CEO at Helpmum.
Dr. Abiodun Adereni has a Certificate in Entrepreneurship Management from Enterprise Development Centre, Lagos Business School.
His vision for the African Continent is to see “Africa and all Africa” thrive, where committed leaders will help drive societal changes and sustainable economic growth and identify lasting and impactful solutions to improve poor healthcare challenges and solve other endemic challenges through innovation and technology.
Investors & Funding Rounds
Global Citizen, Facebook
The startup recently received a $250,000 grant from the Patrick McGovern Foundation to support the deployment of its AI-Driven Vaccine Intervention Optimiser (ADVISER).
ADVISER’s framework was built on an integer linear program that aims to increase the overall likelihood of successful vaccinations.
The framework was initially developed through HelpMum’s partnership with Vanderbilt University, a private research university, as part of the Google AI for Social Good program.
The framework also received top honors in the social good category for its contribution to optimizing childhood health and wellness in Nigeria at the 2022 International Joint Conferences on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI).
The startup has received a total of $500,000 from several grants, such as $250,000 from Google, $5,000 from the United Nations, $50,000 from Global Citizen, and $55,000 from Facebook.
Most of these grants have been used to develop technology-based solutions to maternal and infant mortality.
Alongside providing clean birth kits, HelpMum has developed an ecosystem of applications such as a vaccination tracking system, an e-commerce platform, a pregnancy tracker, and several other features.
To enable women in rural areas to access these apps, HelpMum has partnered with the Oyo State Government to avail all primary health centers in the state for this purpose.
In addition, the Patrick McGovern Foundation brings together global experts from academia, industry, and civil society to explore how AI and data science may be used to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing the planet.
The foundation has awarded over $300 million in grants since its inception in 2014.
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