Tanzania

Africare Awarded for Innovative Mobile App Developed to Measure Anemia

Africare’s Mwanzo Bora Nutrition Program (MBNP) team received one of three USAID’s Global Development Lab’s “Innovation to Action Awards” last week in Washington, D.C. The award recognizes the impact this innovation will have: breaking the cycle of malnutrition and anemia passed from mother to child, and engendering good nutrition and health in the crucial first 1,000 days of life, ensuring children grow, learn, and thrive.

The Africare-developed Hb Meter is a mobile device app for Android® smartphones developed to help program staff measure anemia levels in communities in Tanzania. It can tell if a person is anemic within 15 seconds without drawing any blood. Simply put an index finger on the device and the camera’s flash is able to filter through the skin to measure relevant blood levels, categorizing the result as “severe”, “mild”, or “no anemia” in line with World Health Organization standards. The app provides the results electronically on site, and can feed the data directly into health systems databases and dashboards, codified and anonymized to protect the privacy of each individual.

MBNP Testing at Muhimbili Hospital, Tanzania

Before the app trained staff has to draw blood, run a test, and read the results to diagnose anemia; this process took several minutes and was dependent on the individual being comfortable with having their blood drawn. The breakthrough of this invention means easy, fast identification of anemia without specific clinical training requirements, needles, or test kits; especially useful when working with infants or vulnerable adults, and in remote areas.  The cost of the test was also greatly reduced from about 62 cents per individual to 1 cent per individual.

An indicator of poor nutrition or underlying illness, anemia results in poor health, including loss of energy and reduced physical capacity. In Tanzania, over half of all pregnant women, and more than 1 in 3 women are likely to be anemic. Anemia in pregnancy is associated with illness and death of both the mother and baby, including increased risk of miscarriages, stillbirths, premature birth, and low birth weight. Africare’s Mwanzo Bora Nutrition Program, funded by USAID and implemented in Tanzania, aims to eliminate 20% of all anemia in the first 1,000 days of life using social and behavior change communication to improve nutrition.

Throughout the continent Africare has been recognized for its program implementation excellence. As a top global innovator in Senegal, Africare received the Innovative Solutions Award to Prevent Infant/Maternal Deaths at the “DevelopmentXChange” Saving Lives at Birth Conference for a groundbreaking ICT platform to improve care in pregnancy, delivery and right after childbirth for both mother and baby in remote areas of Senegal.

Africare’s MBNP team was honored for this breakthrough mobile app at an award ceremony during Global Innovation Week held at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center in Washington D.C.

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Pictured: Vice President of Tanzania, Samia Suluhu, accompanied by a member from the White Ribbon Alliance, receives an informational folder about the Mwanzo Bora Nutrition Program by Tuzie Edwin, Senior Program Officer for SBCC (Mwanzo Bora) accompanied by Alfred Kalaghe, Deputy Country Director (Africare Tanzania). Photo Credit: White Ribbon Alliance
Pictured: Vice President of Tanzania, Samia Suluhu, accompanied by a member from the White Ribbon Alliance, receives an informational folder about the Mwanzo Bora Nutrition Program by Tuzie Edwin, Senior Program Officer for SBCC (Mwanzo Bora) accompanied by Alfred Kalaghe, Deputy Country Director (Africare Tanzania). Photo Credit: White Ribbon Alliance

White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood in Tanzania

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Africare Tanzania’s Mwanzo Bora Nutrition Program participated in “White Ribbon Day” organized by the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood in Tanzania.  The day marked the launch of the “Zero Tolerance to Maternal Deaths” campaign.

The Mwanzo Bora team participated in the exhibition by providing materials on the nutrition program, its goals and objectives of reducing maternal anemia (for women of reproductive age) through the Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) kits, and how the program measures anemia via non-invasive mobile technology. The Africare Tanzania team had the pleasure of presenting to the guest of honor, The Vice President of Tanzania, Samia Suluhu, about the Mwanzo Bora Nutrition Program.

 

Article written by Aliza Moorji-Hasham, Communications Specialist for the Mwanzo Bora Nutrition Project.

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Salome Rumas is one of several mothers in the Mesera tribe practicing healthy nutrition habits.
Salome Rumas is one of several mothers in the Mesera tribe practicing healthy nutrition habits.

Manyara Masai Village Changes for Better Nutrition

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Since the inception of the Africare Tanzania’s Mwanzo Bora Nutrition Program, the Masai residing in the Mesera Village in the Manyara region are adopting healthier nutrition practices, particularly for the well-being of their pregnant women and children in their tribe.

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Community Health Care Providers distributing nutritious porridge to women and children
Community Health Care Providers distributing nutritious porridge to women and children

Kalambo village wins war against maternal deaths

MPENJE Village in Kalambo District, Rukwa Region has recorded zero maternal deaths for the past three years, thanks to the efforts of Africare, a non-governmental organization which focuses on reducing maternal deaths and child mortalities among rural communities.

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