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Maternal health-focused digital platform, Zambian startup Dawa Health plans regional expansion

Dawa Health, a medical hardware business founded in 2018, prototyped a wearable device to monitor elderly medical indicators and communicate them wirelessly to clinicians for active monitoring.

However, it became clear throughout the BongoHive launch program that the initial concept would not be viable.

“Coincidentally, my cousin was pregnant, and her experience and the unacceptably high numbers of maternal mortality in the region were the final push to pivot and focus on maternal health,” co-founder Tafadzwa Munzwa, a medical doctor, told Disrupt Africa.

DawaMom, a digital health platform developed by the company, allows women to get remote maternal health care while being guided through the perinatal period. DawaMom provides weekly maternal health assistance to expecting moms and is accessible through online, mobile, SMS, and voice or text chatbot.

“Through our platform, mothers monitor parameters like gestational blood pressure, gestational blood sugar, urinary tract infections, hemoglobin levels, and ultrasound scans. Our platform works together with a network of community health agents who provide biweekly maternal health support in remote areas. The medical parameters from community health agents are then wired to trained professionals who provide remote insights,” Munzwa said.

Dawa Health is working to eliminate the maternal health access gap in Sub-Saharan Africa for women and mothers. Over 830 mothers die every day from avoidable pregnancy problems, with Sub-Saharan Africa accounting for 67% of the total.

“In Southern Africa, more than 17 million mothers give birth annually, and more than 10 million of those do not have access to good quality maternal health,” said Munzwa.

Dawa Health, which is in the midst of obtaining a seed round of funding, is attempting to remedy this and is already planning growth after “very encouraging” adoption of its beta tests in Zambia.

“The data and results will be instrumental in our next phase of scaling operations and markets,” Munzwa said.

“Currently, we are focused on the Zambian markets with expansion plans to Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Tanzania.”

The business has had trouble getting the strategic alliances it needs to go to market, as it generates money directly from patients on the platform and foreign organizations subsidizing prices for low-income areas. It’s off the ground now, and it’s ready to expand.

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