Health eVillages and Real Medicine Foundation expand joint initiative to reduce world's highest maternal mortality rate in South Sudan

South Sudan program extension enhances quality and timeliness of patient care for expectant mothers

Aug 20, 2015, 08:53 ET from Physicians Interactive

READING, Mass., Aug. 20, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Health eVillages, a program of Physicians Interactive (PI) and the not-for-profit Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, and Real Medicine Foundation (RMF) announced today that they are launching the next phase of their partnership in South Sudan, aimed at reducing the world's highest maternal mortality rate.

Building upon the success of their initial collaboration with RMF in South Sudan, Health eVillages will supply funding to build an outdoor shelter for expectant mothers waiting to receive patient education and prenatal care from midwives, as well as funding to construct partitioned rooms that offer a more private environment for office visits with physicians and midwives.

Under RMF's Collaborative Antenatal Care (CANC), four midwives provide treatment and education for expectant mothers. Two midwives conduct patient education and care relevant to the stage of pregnancy of the group – from early to late pregnancy. The patient education includes videos on the Health eVillages devices translated into Arabic by Juba College of Nursing and Midwifery student volunteers. While expectant mothers attend the education groups, two hands-on midwives simultaneously conduct individual physical exams and consultations in private rooms.

In South Sudan, a woman has a 1 in 7 chance of dying during pregnancy or childbirth in her lifetime – the highest official maternal mortality rate in the world with 2,054 deaths per 100,000 live births.1 With the support of Health eVillages, RMF continues to elevate the quality of expectant mothers' healthcare experiences with greater access to patient education via Health eVillages' mobile devices. The Health eVillages' partnership also helps RMF to provide more timely care as information needed to triage, diagnose and properly treat patients is more readily available.

"Maternal health in a remote place like South Sudan is like an onion, where you have to peel off layer after layer in order to have an impact on expectant mothers presenting – and returning – for care," said Martina C. Fuchs, M.D., Ph.D., founder and CEO of RMF. "The Collaborative IQ approach of using the best services that RMF has to offer, combined with Health eVillages' mobile devices with up-to-date medical reference materials, has a tremendous impact on every layer of our South Sudan program. It helps increase the number of mothers who return to deliver their babies in our facilities, instead of facing the substantial risks of giving birth at home."

RMF has been focusing on ameliorating childbirth conditions in South Sudan since 2010. The organization co-founded the country's first accredited College of Nursing and Midwifery, with 30 graduates in 2013 and another 54 graduating this coming December. RMF also delivers significant support to Juba Teaching Hospital, the only referral hospital in the country and one that includes 580 beds, serving a population of almost 10 million.

Earlier this year, Health eVillages provided funding for a full-time physician, as well as medical content and tools via mobile devices, to aid in combating the tragic mortality rate in South Sudan, the newest country in the world. The first phase of Health eVillages' partnership with RMF included:

  • A grant to RMF to employ Mohammed Eisa, M.D., a Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award Laureate, who is originally from Darfur, Sudan, and the only medical doctor born and raised in that region.
  • Providing iPods®, iPads® and other handheld mobile devices equipped with specialized medical references and clinical decision support tools. Having this evidence-based clinical information available at the point-of-care has empowered under-resourced, overtaxed healthcare personnel to deliver high-quality patient care in one of the most challenging clinical environments in the world.

"The partnership between Health eVillages and RMF improves access to healthcare in one of the most underserved regions in the world," said Donato Tramuto, Chairman and Founder of Health eVillages. "Leveraging our Collaborative IQ, our efforts have advanced the quality of care for mothers, the quality of the workforce and the work environment for clinicians. South Sudan has one of the lowest rates of women who visit healthcare facilities for antenatal care. However, by augmenting the skills of healthcare workers with Health eVillages devices and clinical reference material, combined with easily shared patient education videos and content, patients are now enjoying a more respectful and compassionate experience with RMF clinicians. This further encourages other pregnant women to visit the facility for antenatal care and delivery, greatly reducing the risk of infant and maternal mortality."

In addition to South Sudan, Health eVillages now provides support to communities in Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Haiti, India, areas of Louisiana affected by the Gulf Oil Spill and rural Maine.

About Health eVillages
Health eVillages, a program of Physicians Interactive and not-for-profit Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, provides state-of-the-art mobile health technology including medical reference and clinical decision support resources to medical professionals in the most challenging clinical environments around the world. For more information about Health eVillages, please visit http://www.healthevillages.org/.

About Physicians Interactive
Headquartered in Reading, MA, Physicians Interactive (PI) aspires to use the power of worldwide networks of healthcare professionals and life sciences companies together in ways that will change the practice and business of medicine for the better. PI's value proposition is to offer the life sciences industry a low-cost, virtual, multi-channel marketing approach that can be used to supplement currently promoted products, as well as non-promoted and orphaned products, that deliver benefits to physicians and patients. A key focus is providing services that fit into physicians' and healthcare professionals' daily workflow at the point-of-care when they make diagnosis, treatment and prescribing decisions. More information can be found at www.PhysiciansInteractive.com.

1 https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2223rank.html

Media Contact:
Amendola Communications for Physicians Interactive
Tim Boivin, 224.209.6495
tboivin@acmarketingpr.com

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