Bebemama is a mobile app providing maternal health information to web-enabled phones. It was created as part of the World Bank’s Apps for Development competition, garnering an honorable mention. The purpose of the app is to deliver information on maternal health to women who may not have access to a health care provider but do have a mobile phone. The app displays World Bank data on fertility, maternal and child health for specific countries or groups of countries. It also includes health care advice for before, during and after pregnancy from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The beta version of the app was developed in Hindi, and now both English and Hindi are available languages. French and Spanish versions are under development. The application is free and open-source.
The Bebemama app is an innovative way to deliver important information to women who may not have knowledge they need about pregnancy. According to Bebemama.org, “Today, 57% of people in developing countries have a mobile phone subscription, more than the people with access to proper health care, either because no doctor is available or because they cannot afford the fees. ” Because of the relative availability of mobile phones, providing this information via cellular technology is great in theory. Unfortunately, in practice, there are a lot of issues with Bebemama. Even the most basic web-enabled phones are expensive, and the previously mentioned 57% are not typically using an iPhone or Android. Also, even if users can access the data, the information provided is not entirely what they need; fertility stats and information on fetal and maternal mortality isn’t the most constructive data to provide a mother who is simply looking for tips on how to stay healthy. The language barrier is a problem as well, though translating information into a workable language may not be a great help if the information is difficult to reach or if literacy is an issue.