Zambia’s Dawa Health lauches seed fund to propel maternal health-focused growth

ZAMBIA – Dawa Health, an e-health platform currently focused on maternal health, is planning expansion into nearby countries for its digital health platform empowering rural mothers.

Dawa Health is trying to close the maternal health access gap for women and mothers in Sub-Saharan Africa.

According to WHO, over 830 mothers die daily from preventable pregnancy complications, with 67 per cent of those in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“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 co-founder Tafadzwa Munzwa.

The bootstrapped Dawa Health, which is in the process of raising a seed round of financing, is aiming to address this, and after very encouraging uptake of its beta pilots in Zambia is now already planning expansion.

The startup, which makes money directly from patients on the platform and international organizations subsidizing costs for low-income communities, hopes to expand into Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Tanzania amid continued difficulties in securing the strategic partnerships it needed to go to market.

Founded in 2018 as a medical hardware startup, Dawa Health prototyped a wearable device to monitor geriatrics medical parameters to be wirelessly transmitted to doctors for active monitoring.

However, through the BongoHive launch programme, it realized that the original concept was not going to be sustainable.

The startup then developed a digital health platform, DawaMom, that is empowering mothers to receive remote maternal health while guiding them through the perinatal period.

DawaMom is accessible via web, mobile, SMS, and audio or text chatbot, and provides weekly maternal health support to expectant mothers.

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.

Last month, Dawa Health qualified among Villgro’s top 11 African-led AI Innovations, under which a total of US$80,000 will be invested across this new portfolio.

At the start of 2021, AI4D Africa | IAPD Afrique partnered with Villgro Africa in developing a Call for Innovations entitled “Harnessing the Power of AI for Africa’s Development”, which generated a tremendous response from across the continent.

The aim of the call is to uncover African-led AI innovations that will be instrumental in catalyzing the emerging AI ecosystem towards responsible development of the technology while strengthening the capacity of African innovators to scale their impact and improve development outcomes within the context of sustainability and/or commercial viability.

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