Solution Overview

Solution Name:

Maisha

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One-line solution summary:

Maisha: Improving postpartum depression treatment in Africa through standardized screening practices

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Pitch your solution.

According to WHO the global prevalence of postpartum depression (PPD) has been estimated as 100‒150 per 1000 births. PPD is a severe disorder that begins within four weeks postpartum and requires hospitalization.

While PPD is a considerable health issue for many women, the disorder often remains undiagnosed and hence untreated. The situation is especially worse in Africa where mental health needs are largely ignored.

Our solution seeks to solve PPD by introducing mental health screening as part of the already established maternal health structure. Using our system mothers get tested and continuously monitored. Those at need get assigned help both at the clinic and at home.

The solution will greatly reduce the child mortality rate, which is especially high in Africa, as mothers who are depressed are more likely not to breastfeed their babies and not seek health care appropriately.

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What specific problem are you solving?

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a serious mood disorder. PPD is more frequent in women than thought otherwise. In Africa, considering that the average birth rate in Africa is 4.7, PPD affects most if not all mothers and chances of getting  it increases with each birth .

The health infrastructure in Africa gives little attention to this condition in terms of identification, diagnosis, and treatment as psychological issues are mostly ignored.

Postnatal depression has profound effects on the quality of life, social functioning, and economic productivity of women and their families. The health consequences could also lead to adverse effects on the long-term emotional and physical development of the infant.

Moreover, failure by health professionals to identify postnatal depressed women often leads to safeguarding concerns for both mothers and infants.

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What is your solution?

Maisha helps pregnant women, their families and healthcare professionals build partnerships with each other through an intelligent messaging solution that uses machine learning and natural language processing to provide PPD screening and treatment and support.

Maisha rides on the current health structure to provide the service. Using the triage period, patients take SMS test and the result provided to the healthcare professional for analysis. Those that require support are provided the help locally and also virtually.

Maisha enables the few mental health professionals to treat 5 time more patients as compared to the traditional model. Additionally the referral matrix is strengthen empowering those patients to seek local solutions for mild forms of the diseases or for patients that require face to face interactions.

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Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?

Our solution is targeting pregnant African women and those with infants.

The current set up in most maternal African health care systems is use of a jotter to track progress of the pregnancy and infancy period. The jotter is kept by the patient/mother and is updated by the health professionals. We are using the same model to incorporate mental health checks and status. This will result in psychological status of the mother being in focus.

Women in the urban environment and those with internet prefer use of tools such as apps for the therapy sessions while those in the rural set up and/or with limited resources prefer phone calls and sms. Both groups do not mind use of the SMS for the testing.

Our internal studies have shown that the women find the solution easy to use and actually welcome psycho-social support, recognizing its importance. Wide spread adoption of the solution will encourage better adoption of usage as well as make mental health in general gain valuable support.

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Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Support the mental and emotional health of women throughout pregnancy and after childbirth

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Explain how the problem, your solution, and your solution’s target population relate to the Challenge and your selected dimension.

A women's mental health and well being during pregnancy is as important as their physical health. If a woman is mentally healthy, she will be in the best position to manage the challenges of pregnancy and life with a new baby.

Maisha ensures that maternal mental status is in focus during and after the pregnancy thus enabling faster interventions where needed and that are also cost effective (early detection ensures lower treatment cost).

In addition Maisha will help the broader adoption of mental health treatment in Africa

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In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?

Nairobi, Kenya
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What is your solution’s stage of development?

Growth: An organization with an established product, service, or business model rolled out in one or, ideally, several communities, which is poised for further growth

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Who is the primary delegate for your solution?

Ruth Mwaura

2
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More About Your Solution

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new business model or process

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Describe what makes your solution innovative.

Maisha is innovative as it seeks to address PPD proactively instead of the current reactive measures, where a patient has to develop symptoms to get treated. Additionally the solution is taking a preventative approach to PPD.

Maisha is also unique in that it lowers the cost of treating PPD by over 80%, by targeting and treating patients before they advance in the level of illness. The approach also allows patients to get better in self care and are able to identify problem signals early through the regular training. these results in the community being more aware of mental health and what is required.

Finally, Maisha is able to utilize the few mental health professionals well. currently 90% of them are in the urban areas which poses a challenge to majority of the African population which is rural. the virutal assistance is able to assure the professionals a constant income hence they are able to reduce their charges.

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Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

The current Maisha uses machine language and AI to screen and communicate with patients. We are continuously building the solution to add more feature including local language adoption.

However the most useful feature is the noting of mental health results in the book used by the patients in their clinic visits.Of interest is the ability of the service to be able to connect to other systems through API ensuring no hospital system will be left out.

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Provide evidence that this technology works.

https://www.researchprotocols....

https://www.researchgate.net/p...

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/p...

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Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning
  • Behavioral Technology
  • Big Data
  • Crowdsourced Service / Social Networks
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What is your theory of change?

According to WHOevery dollar put in any mental initiative gives back four dollars in gains. using this approach the impact of Maisha will be;

  1. saving the patients over 10 million dollars in treatment cost.
  2. mental health professionals earning over 2 million dollars.
  3. reducing the rate of child mortality by 20% (theoretical).
  4. increasing the earning power of mothers by half since PPD introduces downtime during recovery.

Maisha is a simple total that has been designed to be easily adopted across all ranges of clinics and health facilities with little disruptions.

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Select the key characteristics of your target population.

  • Pregnant Women
  • Infants
  • Rural
  • Peri-Urban
  • Urban
  • Poor
  • Low-Income
  • Middle-Income
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Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?

  • 3. Good Health and Well-Being
  • 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • 10. Reduced Inequalities
  • 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • 17. Partnerships for the Goals
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In which countries do you currently operate?

  • Kenya
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In which countries will you be operating within the next year?

  • Kenya
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
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How many people does your solution currently serve? How many will it serve in one year? In five years?

For the pilot phase we have screened over 10,000 patients with over 100 advancing in the level of care.

We are still in the pilot phase and estimate to be able to serve 100,000 patients within an year and five million after adoption of local language in the solution.

our estimation is over 10,000 mothers will be treated for some form of PPD within a year and 50,000 after the first year due to increased awareness and adoption of local language.

we estimate we will save the patients over 10 million dollars in treatment cost while earning the mental health professionals over 2 million dollars.

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What are your goals within the next year and within the next five years?

We plan to be in over 100,000 hospitals and clinics within 5 years interacting with 3 million patients on a daily basis.

We plan to increase the current level of treatment for mental health related illness from under 10% to 40%.

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What barriers currently exist for you to accomplish your goals in the next year and in the next five years?

Stigma is a big factor in the implementation of a mental health solution in Africa followed by lack of resources especially manpower.

Many local languages also make it difficult to implement AI solutions due to the training time required for each language.

Logistical cost are also high as most rural areas are expansive with sparse population.

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How do you plan to overcome these barriers?

Using constant training and education will reduce the stigma while use
of technology will increase the efficiency of the current practitioners.

We use the funnel approach that will enable us target languages spoken by more people across the continent.

Using technology and trade associations will enable us reach some remote areas faster and cheaper.

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About Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

For-profit, including B-Corp or similar models

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If you selected Other, please explain here.

Maisha is part of Thalia psychotherapy. Thalia is using Maisha as an initiative to broaden the reach of mental health service in Africa and reduce stigma associated with mental health.

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How many people work on your solution team?

5 full time

5 part time

10 Contractors

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How many years have you worked on your solution?

3-4

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Why are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

Ruth Mwaura (CEO) Kenyan

She a co founder and CEO. She holds a master in clinical psychology and is passionate about mental health especially in children. Ruth has over 7 years experience in mental health and running complex teams. She is also good at mobilizing and has a great networks in the African mental health space.

Martha Kagoya (COO) Ugandan

She holds a master in clinical psychology. She runs the day to day activities including teams and resources. She has over 15 years in leadership and has strong research skills.

Dennis Mwangi (chairman) Kenyan

He co founded Thalia with Ruth. He has a strong technical background and drives the IT agenda. He has over 15 years of leadership both in business and social work.


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What organizations do you currently partner with, if any? How are you working with them?

Nairobi City county

Kenya healthcare federation

Kenya psychiatric association

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Your Business Model & Funding

What is your business model?

we will serve patients though revenue share partnerships with hospitals and other stakeholders

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Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, or to other organizations?

Individual consumers or stakeholders (B2C)

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What is your path to financial sustainability?

we estimate will it take 100,000 screening tests and 10,000 treatments to make Maisha break even. This can be achieved after getting over 20 hospitals.

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If you have raised funds for your solution or are generating revenue, please provide details.

the founders of Thalia Psychotherapy are meeting the establishment cost of Maisha.

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If you seek to raise funds for your solution, please provide details.

we welcome any funding option though debt has to be long term.

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What are your estimated expenses for 2020?

we estimate to spend 100,000 usd in the next 12 months as development cost of the solution plus the running cost.

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Partnership & Prize Funding Opportunities

Why are you applying to Solve?

Solve will provide Maisha the platform to scale easily since many healthcare solution are working in our target area. Additional the sharing of knowledge and being in the company of like minds will help take the solution to the next level.

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In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

  • Funding and revenue model
  • Talent recruitment
  • Board members or advisors
  • Legal or regulatory matters
  • Marketing, media, and exposure
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Please explain in more detail here.

choosing the right talent has become a major issue in running Maisha since its in an area facing stigma in the target groups.

We feel having a baord will help the solution better navigate the business environment which is tough and help in any fund raising efforts as well as open a few doors.

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What organizations would you like to partner with, and how would you like to partner with them?

African government provide the best partners to the solution as many healthcare facilities are government run in Africa

NGO's such as the World Bank and UN will help the adoption of the solution though their expertise and networks in Africa.

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The Andan Prize for Innovation in Refugee Inclusion?

Yes

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Explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use The Andan Prize for Innovation in Refugee Inclusion to advance your solution?

Refugees face more mental health challenges due to their current environment. A solution that address PPD will also have a postive impact on their mental health status as a whole.

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for the Innovation for Women Prize?

Yes

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Explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use the Innovation for Women Prize to advance your solution?

We are using the mobile phone backed by a mixture of AI and jotters to screen, track and treat postpartum depression (PPD) in Africa. PPD has been shown to affect up to 85% of pregnant women with over 10% developing the severe form of the condition.

Mental health has become a global issue and the UN has predicted it will be the biggest disease burden in the near future. The situation is worse in Africa as 95% of patients are unaware of their conditions hence are not seeking treatment.

Traditionally it is the women who are left to carry the burden of a mentally ill patient. Our project though focusing on PPD seeks to enlighten the African woman on how to identify, treat or manage mental health conditions. More importantly provide a one stop access for assistance on any mental health problem.

We will use the prize winnings to provide start a call center to provide support to the care givers of patients with mental health conditions. The aim is to build a reliable database. This will enable us provide cheaper medicine through bulk buying as well as help the care givers form support groups.

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for the Health Workforce Innovation Prize?

Yes

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Explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use the Health Workforce Innovation Prize to advance your solution?

Currently our solution is attempting to use technology in the screening of post-partum depression in African as we also build on improving mental health treatment uptake in the continent. This will be done by well utilization of the current resources i.e manpower and facilities etc. this will be done through a referral system.

The referral system will be based on health workers identifying mental health conditions and knowing where to refer the patients. Additionally, for mental health workers to know their treatment capabilities. This will be achieved through continuous trainings. We plan to partner with the accreditation bodies to offer CPD point to encourage adoption.

The referral system will also help domain experts to specialize resulting in better treatment outcomes. Currently they see any patient.

We plan to use the winning to fund the strengthening of the CPD systems in the health care accreditation bodies.

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for the AI for Humanity Prize?

Yes

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Explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use AI for Humanity Prize to advance your solution?

Currently our solution is attempting to use AI in the screening of post-partum depression in African Women across the numerous native languages in use. We hope that we can develop the system further to enable those with mild conditions are identified quickly and are able to be guided by the system to full wellness.

More importantly, we plan to use the AI algorithm to manage the referral system. The referral system will help domain experts to specialize resulting in better treatment outcomes. Currently they see any patient. Additionally, since there are few mental health professionals who are mostly concentrated in urban areas whilst majority of the population is in the rural areas, the referral matrix will enable the professionals be where they are needed most.

We anticipate to use the project to inform the adoption of AI in other health sectors in Africa. The prize money will be used to get domain experts, who over and above building our solution will develop the template for AI adoption in Africa's healthcare system.

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Funded Award?

Yes

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Explain how you are qualified for this award. How will your team use the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Funded Award to advance your solution?

We are using the mobile phone backed by a mixture of AI and jotters to screen, track and treat postpartum depression (PPD) in Africa. PPD has been shown to affect up to 85% of pregnant women with over 10% developing the severe form of the condition.

Mental health has become a global issue and the UN has predicted it will be the biggest disease burden in the near future. The situation is worse in Africa as 95% of patients are unaware of their conditions hence are not seeking treatment. Our solution intends to use the current health system structures to offer mental health solutions through the use of technology.

We intend to use the prize winnings to empower the current health care civil service to focus on mental health through trainings as well as lobby for the creation of an accreditation system for mental health professionals especially in the lower cadre. Currently mental health workers are not accredited and their scope is not known in the lower cadres for example councilors.

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for the Future Planet Capital Prize?

Yes

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Explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use the the Future Planet Capital Prize to advance your solution?

Mental health has become a global issue and the UN has predicted it will be the biggest disease burden in the near future. The situation is worse in Africa as 95% of patients are unaware of their conditions hence are not seeking treatment.

It is estimated that over 300 million Africans suffer from a mental health condition. Our solution is aimed at identifying and treating postpartum depression while also improving the uptake of mental health solutions through out Africa. We are targeting to start in East Africa by building on the knowledge and expertise gathered in Kenya to be replicated in the other African countries.

We will use the funding to scale our solution to other markets. Additionally, the funding will be used to act as a payment buffer between the mental health professionals and insurance companies. It can take more than 3 months for some insurance to pay creating cashflow problems.

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Solution Team

 
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