Wekebere Tackles Maternal and Infant Mortality in Developing Countries

Wearables are a dime a dozen in the developed world, but a Ugandan-based global health startup called wekebere  is looking to use the technology for more than just email notifications and step tracking. The company’s namesake device is wekebere  aimed at helping expectant in developing countries survive their first month by tracking vital signs.

wekebere uses a compact sensor array to monitor the wearer’s  fetal heart rate, uterine contractions and temperature. When any of these variables drifts out of a preset threshold, an alert is sent via Bluetooth to a display monitor running custom software. Patient histories can also be exported to make sure doctors and nurses can keep abreast of a new patient’s background without relying on manual recordings.

The device is aimed at making life easier for healthcare workers in developing countries, where a lack of staff can make it difficult to regularly record and monitor the vital signs of children in the crucial first months. Because of these factors, among others, the World Health Organization estimates over 3 million children die within the first four weeks of being born every year. What’s more, the same WHO report says two-thirds of these deaths could be prevented if low-cost, simple monitoring technology was implemented in developing countries.

Currently, wekebere’s prototype hardware is being tested, refined and shrunk down to an appropriate size, but the software side of development is already finished. When the device is completed and is deemed safe by Ugandan regulators, its creators are hoping to start field deployment this year before expanding the rollout over the next three years.

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