HelpMum receives $250,000 grant to deploy AI-enabled Immunization in Nigeria

HelpMum receives $250,000 grant to deploy AI-enabled Immunization in Nigeria

HelpMum, a Nigerian healthcare social enterprise committed to reducing maternal and infant mortality rate in Africa has received a $250,000 grant from the Patrick McGovern Foundation to ensure the combination of artificial intelligence (AI) with its vaccination tracker.

According to the founder, Dr. Abiodun Adereni, the fund will be used to develop an AI platform that will ensure the improvement of immunization rates in Nigeria. “With this 250,000 dollars funding, “HelpMum will aim to implement and incorporate AI-Driven Vaccine Intervention Optimiser (ADVISER) – an AI-based framework with our existing HelpMum Vaccination tracking system to optimize the allocation of interventions to improve immunization rates in Nigeria.”

The health care startup was founded in 2017 when Adereni, a veterinary student in the University of Ibadan as at then went on an outreach to a neighbouring community to enlighten pregnant women about diseases that could be contracted from animals. To his unimagined discovery, the women in the community had no knowledge about immunization and he thought it was prudent that he invented a solution that would guarantee quality care during childbirth.

“On that outreach, I got talking with a pregnant woman and when I asked her which hospitals or clinics pregnant women in the community go to for childbirth, she said there was none and pointed at the house of the only traditional birth attendant all the women in the community patronised.”

“When I spoke to the traditional birth attendant, she told me that women in that community give birth on the floor because she didn’t have a hospital bed. Even worse, she was poorly trained and would often use the same medical equipment for multiple women. These were all causes of maternal and infant mortality,” Adereni told Global Citizen.

In Nigeria, a UNICEF report highlights that 576 out of 100,000 women die yearly (10% of global maternal deaths) – “the fourth highest on earth” despite that the country represents only 2.4& of the world’s population. Meanwhile, 262,000 babies die yearly – the world’s second highest national total.

Since it began operations, the startup has innovated different products and services that helps women especially the ones in marginalized, remote communities. Among the products are its vaccination tracker that help schedule and serve as a reminder for immunization sessions and birth kits for pregnant women in rural communities.

HelpMum was one of the two startups selected for Google social impact funding in 2021 for the second time after receiving $250, 000 in 2019. It has also raised funding from other reputable organizations around the world such as Facebook, Western Union Foundation, United Nations Geneva, among others.

Recently, the Oyo state ministry of health took on the HelpMum Vaccination Tracker to be used in 721 health centres across the state in its partnership with the health care startup.