Baby Monitor: Interactive Voice Response System for Clinical Screening of Pregnant Women

Baby Monitor: Meeting Women Where They Are


Baby Monitor takes clinical screening directly to women in the critical period before and after birth by using Verboice, an interactive voice response technology, to detect complications and take action.


A great number of women and babies die every year due to lack of access to proper care during and before birth. Prenatal care and care during the first days and weeks after birth could prevent at least 2/3 of infant deaths. Eighty percent of maternal deaths are preventable with the implementation of a set of proven interventions by qualified health workers. For many women in rural areas, they are more likely to be reached by a mobile phone signal than an outreach worker who could help connect them to lifesaving care.


In October of 2011, with funding from USAID, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada, the Government of Norway, and the World Bank, InSTEDD partnered with the Population Council through their Kenya office to develop an innovative method for improved prenatal and postpartum screening for mothers and infants in resource-poor environments.  

The Baby Monitor system calls women at regular intervals before and after delivery. Women listen to screening questions recorded in their local language and respond by pressing keys on their phone. Baby Monitor evaluates the answers and, if necessary, will send information, make referrals and dispatch medical help. Because the system can reference information from previous calls, Baby Monitor is able to ‘remember’ how a woman and her baby have been doing and follow-up. This can help to keep high risk cases from falling through the cracks.

Baby Monitor screening calls are powered by Verboice, one of our open-source tools which specializes in interactive voice response systems.  With a simple web interface, system creators can develop interactive voice response applications without any previous programming knowledge or experience.  Once the configuration is complete, the Baby Monitor system is able to call mothers who can use virtually any type of phone line anywhere in the world.

Through the power and vast accessibility of mobile technology, Baby Monitor is helping to reduce maternal and newborn mortality. 




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