Maternity Foundation and Neuvo Inc. Global launch new AI tool to ensure safer childbirths in low-resource settings
The international NGO Maternity Foundation and Finnish AI startup company Neuvo Inc. Global join hands to strengthen midwifery knowledge and skills among healthcare workers in low-resource settings by launching a new AI-powered service.
The new AI-powered service is developed by Neuvo Inc. Global and consists of a conversational smartbot, named the NeMa smartbot, which will be integrated into Maternity Foundation’s free, digital tool, the Safe Delivery App. To date, the Safe Delivery App and the accompanying programme have reached more than 375,000 healthcare workers and helped ensure millions of safer births globally.
The Safe Delivery App is a professional job aid and training tool for midwives and other healthcare workers in low-resource settings. It provides essential guidance on how to handle birth and the most common complications through animated videos and description of procedures, among other features. With the new AI-powered smartbot, users will be able to ask questions and receive up-to-date and evidence-based answers related to birth and pregnancy, making it easier to quickly access the needed information.
Around 300,000 mothers and 2.4 million newborns die during and around the time of childbirth every year but the majority can be prevented if the women have a trained midwife by their side. Hence, the need to find solutions to better build up knowledge and skills among the world’s healthcare workers are of utmost importance.
“Maternity Foundation has been frontrunners in terms of leveraging technology for development for more than ten years. We have used mobile technology to reach and support healthcare workers in some of the world’s poorest and fragile settings since 2012. Exploring ways to best build AI into our solutions and programme is a natural next step, and we are truly excited about the partnership with and support from Neuvo Inc. Global, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Organon”, says Anna Frellsen, CEO at Maternity Foundation.
An ethics centered approach to AI and data collection
Neuvo Inc. Global has an ethics centered approach to AI and data. Its smartbot service is built from a human-centric perspective, specifically with humanitarian needs in mind. An innovative approach allows an offline version of the AI-powered smartbot to operate directly on the users device, ensuring reliable answers even in areas with limited or no connectivity.
The answers provided by the smartbot are based on scientifically verified and audited clinical material provided by Maternity Foundation. Neuvo Inc. Global and Maternity Foundation have full control of all the responses provided.
To continuously develop the toll, Neuvo will collect anonymous data about its usage to better understand the needs of midwives and healthcare professionals. Multiple arrangements have been set up to ensure that the user’s data is anonymized as well as to guarantee that access and usage of the platform are secure for all to use.
“For the first time ever it is possible to convert human thoughts into actionable insights and provide real-time data-analysis of what is happening in the field while granting full anonymity to users. This data is essential for spotting emerging issues and provoking new innovations. This collaboration not only provides a new tool for the midwives today but paves the way for future change as we gain new understanding of the issues at hand”, says Tuomas Nyman, CEO at Neuvo Inc. Global.
Pilots taking place in India
The first pilot of the Safe Delivery App with the integrated smartbot will take place in Punjab, India during the fall of 2023 and will include doctors, nurses, and specialists. The pilot testing is done in collaboration with the health authorities of the National Health Mission in Punjab. After the initial pilot, the hope is to make the smartbot function available on a greater scale.
The pilot is facilitated by UNFPA and financed by Organon.