Reduce maternal mortality in Tanzania with smartphone app which shares expectant mother’s information


Castalia will implement and distribute Taarifa za Mama, an app that constructs a smartphone-based information network of expectant mothers in Tanzania. With this, we will improve the operations of midwives and promote an educational approach and peer support for expectant mothers, to reduce the high maternal mortality rate in the said country. 

October, 2020
Castalia Co., Ltd.

Issues to be solved High maternal mortality rate in Tanzania
Product / Technology / Service Personal health record app specializing in pregnancy and childbirth "Taarifa za Mama (Mama's record)"
Approach Product development / feasibility study / distribution and enlightenment
Target country / area United Republic of Tanzania
Target year for achievement 2025
Scale of the business Targets all expectant mothers in Tanzania, however starting with those in large/medium-size cities
Partner Dr. Yoko Shimpuku, Professor, Global Health Nursing, Graduate School of Biomedical and Health Sciences, Hiroshima University
Relevant target of SDGs

3.1 By 2030, reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births



In Tanzania where the high maternal mortality rate of 524 deaths per 100,000 live births, the health care system does not specify hospitals and healthcare centers that expectant mothers should visit during pregnancy. Maternity records are only available on paper clinical records or recording-only cards given to the mothers. Maternal handbooks that consist of learning materials and easy-to-understand information do not exist. As the information of the expectant mother is not associated individually, it is time-consuming for midwives to collect information from notebooks and paper records at every checkup, which hampers them to provide the important healthcare instructions and explanations on test results. Also, because a single checkup takes up so much time, the expectant mothers are forced to wait in the crowded waiting room for a long time, which accelerates frustration and stress over prenatal checkups.

In the current circumstances where the information on expectant mothers are not linked chronologically, the quality of the midwives’ healthcare instructions are unlikely to improve, and they cannot encourage expectant mothers to proactively attend prenatal checkups.

Purpose of the project

Data such as the expectant mother’s information and the content of the checkup will be saved in the cloud via smartphones, which enables the visualization and sharing of the checkups. This allows the improvement in the quality of healthcare instructions by the midwives as well as increase in the midwives prenatal checkups, which will lead to the reduction of maternal mortality in Tanzania.


Detail of the Project (How can this project address global health challenges?)

The app Taarifa za Mama will implement two corresponding functions, respectively for midwives and expectant mothers, in order to realize 1.) the improvement in the efficiency of checkups, 2.) The continuance of healthcare instructions, and 3.) the increase in the number of attendance of prenatal checkups. The midwives will share information, while the expectant mothers can answer advance questionnaires in advance of the checkup, communicate with others on the bulletin board within the app, and browse educational contents catering to each gestation cycle.

On a technical standpoint, the app will be dedicated to smartphones and uses Firebase, Google’s real-time synchronization server adopted for map apps, etc. This enables a relatively stable user environment although Internet access is unstable in Tanzania. Also, the app will be made in a simple UX and a UI fitting for the African context so that midwives and expectant mothers whose IT literacy level is low can use the app stress-free, which will help the popularization of Taarifa za Mama.

Timeline or milestones by the achievement of the commitment, KPI for monitoring activities

< Milestones >
1. First year: Development and preliminary implementation of Taarifa za Mama
We will develop the app as a tool for the visualization of maternal checkup information and communications, and make it easy to use for midwives.

2. 2nd-3rd years: A cluster-randomized comparative study on the implementation of Taarifa za Mama as the intervention
We will conduct a feasibility study of clusters that implements or does not implement the app as the intervention, to prove that the app is effective for the formation of a positive maternal experience for an expectant mother.

3. 4th-5th years: Popularization of Taarifa za Mama in medium-size cities in Tanzania
In a phased manner, we will popularize the app at hospitals in medium-size cities in Tanzania. As it requires smartphones and Internet access, we will introduce the app from cities first.

< KPI >
The number of midwives using Taarifa za Mama

Precondition for achieving the commitment

- Procurement of external funds for the development and operation of Taarifa za Mama
- Acquisition of permits and approvals from Tanzania Ministry of Health and NIMR (The National Institute for Medical Research)
- The midwives’ ability to use smartphones at time of checkups

Role and responsibility of each partner

Castalia: Takes care of the technological side, to develop, implement, stably operate and support the popularization of Taarifa za Mama.
Dr. Yoko Shimpuku: As a midwifery specialist, designs Taarifa za Mama as well as provides instructions for local healthcare workers for the popularization of the app.


The State of the World’s Children 2019: Maternal and Newborn Health (page 200)

Contact information

Company: Castalia Co., Ltd.
Person in charge: Minami Suzuki
E-mail: info "at"

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editor:All contents including photos provided by Castalia