“This project saves lives by ensuring at-risk pregnant women are connected with health services.” — Sinergantara
maternal deaths per 1,000 births in Indonesia, one of the highest rates in the world
rural villages undertaking pilot testing
November 2014 End date
Every hour in Indonesia, a woman dies giving birth or from pregnancy-related causes.
Many of these deaths occur when risky pregnancies are not identified and women are not going to hospitals to get the care they need: in other words, deaths occur when women are not part of Indonesia’s formal health system.
With funding from Making All Voices Count, Sinergantara has developed an SMS-based reporting system for at-risk women. The system aims to provide a cheap and easy way for government workers to identify and collect information on women with potentially risky pregnancies, helping to ensure that the health system provides support for a safer delivery.
Government health workers and community members of targeted villages in Gresik District on East Java send SMS alerts on risky pregnancies to a web-based platform. The platform collates the information and alerts relevant medical facilities, securing medical attention for at-risk women and improving community engagement with these services.
The project team aims not only to help government agencies to better monitor the needs of women with risky pregnancies in the short term, but also to highlight potentially life-threatening gaps in health services, allowing for more informed planning and implementation of public health services.
Sinergantara is an NGO operating in Bandung, West Java since 2012 It focuses on providing knowledge on development policies and practices. This concentrates on governance, social development, and information technology issues. This idea was a runner up in Making All Voices Count’s Global Innovation Competition in 2014.
First understand the problem in its entirety. The Sinergantara team began by looking at the ‘disconnectivity’’ between pregnant women and the local hospital. While working more closely with health providers, they realised there was also ‘disconnectivity’ between the hospital and the government’s health department – both of which were key to addressing the issue.
Then, look at who you need to work with to solve the problem. The team originally targeted staff at the District General Hospital but, as it turned out, the hospital only managed a database of the high risk expectant mothers who had visited the hospital. So, Sinergantara ended up working closely with the District Health Department, which was eager to use the SMS gateway to locate and reach high risk expectant mothers –who were otherwise unreachable- throughout their whole pregnancy period.
Relationship building is slow, painful – and essential. It took the team almost a year to show the Gresik district government how this project could answer their aim of reducing maternal mortality. But now, the government has finally endorsed the project, implementing it in all the district’s villages, allocating a budget for the SMS gateway system and promising to reduce maternal mortality in the coming years.