MotherCare App for Expectant Mothers in Interior Parts of Pakistan

MotherCare App for Expectant Mothers in Interior Parts of Pakistan

Muhammad Abdul Tawab Khalil (City University of Science and Information Technology, Pakistan), Saifullah Jan (IQRA National University, Pakistan), Wajid Ali (IQRA National University, Pakistan) and Adnan Khan (IQRA National University, Pakistan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2351-3.ch006

Abstract

Pregnancy, as a matter of fact, is always physically and emotionally challenging for women. Rapid physical changes with baby's growth in the womb exposes the mother to severe mood swings from short spell of merriment to long spells of anxiety and depression about upcoming child's health, its wellbeing, and so on. Most of the third world countries with their struggling economies have patriarchal social fabric, a fact that makes it worse for women of these societies to healthily tackle or seek help during gestation. The main goal of the proposed application, MothersCare, is to help the expecting mothers when they need it most. It will help them choose the right physician and request appointments from the comfort of homes, barring cumbersome wait for turn in long queues in rush hours for appointments with doctors at hospitals. This app is absolutely user-friendly in terms of simplicity of use and wide spectrum of maternal healthcare services it offers.
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Background

Pakistan, which is fifth most populous country of the world with a population of over 209,970,000 people (Stimson & Haynes 2012), has a 60.78% rural population (Trading Economics, 2018). The economic façade of the country has changed rapidly in recent years from a dominantly agricultural to an evolving industrial economy. Many settled areas in less known parts of the country have already put on an urban or at least suburban array such as Kohaat, Nooriabad, Nowshera, Mirpur Khas, etc. Residents of these areas enjoy access to basic amenities of life. All the same, there are certain interior parts of Pakistan where development has been slow to make its mark. These areas are physically and temperamentally rustic. Unavailability of smooth tarmacked roads to travel long distances and absence of basic medical facilities are the regular nuance to the residents, for instance, underdeveloped parts of Haala and Tharparkar Districts in Sindh, and Charsadda District in Khyberpakhtunkhwa.

Female residents especially suffer greater due to unavailability of basic healthcare facilities near their homes. They suffer worse because, being a patriarchal society to the core, male members of the family feel shy to allow the ailing women of their families to travel long distances and get themselves checked by proper physicians or specialists in cities for prenatal care. Men’s attitude becomes more rigid towards women who are in the family way. Instead of letting their women visit a maternity care centre or such a department in a hospital, they prefer to engage an obstetrician with or without certified training for baby’s birth at home. This augments hazards to expectant mother’s health, as well as that of her to-be-born baby’s.

According to official records, one in 89 women loses her life due to gestational or/and child-birth related complications (Rau, 2015). In Ashrita Rau’s words: “Rural women are less likely to have access to a hospital. The rate of maternal mortality is consequently higher in rural areas than urban areas—23 percent in rural areas rather than 14 percent in urban areas. One major reason for comparatively high maternal mortality rate in rural areas is the home births that are extremely common. A total of 74 percent of women in rural areas give birth at home, compared to 43 percent of women in urban areas”, (Rau, 2015)

Since in Pakistani society, women as daughters, wives and sisters are generally regarded an economic liability on the male members of the family, any expense on their medical care is frowned upon and evaded to the best. So goes for the pregnant lady in the family.

In addition, the shortage of doctors, nurses, and beds at government hospitals also imperceptibly discourages general public, especially expectant women, to take all the trouble of travelling to a hospital, lining up for allotment of appointment time, and finally waiting for hours for the turn to see a gynecologist. Worse still, a good number of regular staff in a gynecological department of a hospital are postgraduate trainees who lack knowledge and skill to handle gestational complications (Rau, 2015).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Maternity Care Centre: A care center for health issues of women.

Moms-to-Be: A woman in the family way (i.e., expecting, or pregnant with a child).

Gestation: The time period during which an infant animal or human develops inside its mother’s womb until its birth.

Appointment: A session scheduled for consultancy between a doctor and a patient.

APP: A downloadable application that has been developed to serve certain purpose.

Expectant Mother: An adult female animal or human pregnant with a baby.

Gynecologist: A physician specializing in women’s health issues related to reproductive system.

Prenatal Care: Healthcare given to an expecting woman before the birth of a baby. This is also called antenatal care. Its antonym is postnatal care which relates to healthcare after birth of a baby.

Complications: Issues. In context of the chapter, this means health issues facing a pregnant woman.

Accessibility: A facility that is easy to reach or use.

Gestational: Related to a woman’s pregnancy.

Antenatal Care: Healthcare given to an expectant mother before birth; prenatal.

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