Designing a Financial Solution That Enables Pregnant Women to Access Quality Healthcare

Designing a Financial Solution That Enables Pregnant Women to Access Quality Healthcare

In Kenya alone, more than 6,000 maternal deaths and 35,000 stillbirths occur each year, making the mortality rate 139% higher than the average of lower and middle-income countries. Research indicates that improving antenatal care (ANC) access from 69% to 90% across Sub-Saharan Africa could save the lives of nearly 160,000 newborns’ lives.

ANC is critical in reducing complications resulting in mothers’ and infants’ deaths during pregnancy. However, the costs of high-quality healthcare have become an obstacle for many pregnant women when seeking ANC. Additionally, most women view their pregnancy journey as three distinct stages — ANC, birth, postnatal care (PNC) — often only focusing on childbirth.

Even the “Linda Mama” government-led programme created to make maternity services more accessible and affordable has yet to reach its potential as most hospitals aren’t well funded to offer these services.

The MomCare Challenge

PharmAccess Foundation launched MomCare to support expectant mothers throughout their pregnancy journey. By combining a care bundle and the quality improvement method SafeCare under one umbrella, MomCare aims to empower mothers to access the care they can trust.

Through this engagement, MomCare sought to introduce a new digital financial solution that enables pregnant women to access quality healthcare and partnered with Spindle Design to understand the challenges women and the health providers who serve them face during their pregnancy journey.

In summary, our project had three goals:

  • Understand women’s journeys through pregnancy: their pain points, needs, goals and aspirations.
  • Understand the challenges of health providers when serving women along their pregnancy journey.
  • Design and prototype a solution that allows pregnant women in the informal segment to access quality healthcare.

Creating a Maternity Care Solution Through the Human Lens

Good design isn’t based on assumptions — that’s why it’s crucial to understand who you’re designing your product or service for to create a solution that speaks to their needs.

We needed to dig deeper into the various challenges in the healthcare scene that influenced how Kenyan women sought out care. We applied a mix of qualitative and quantitative research methods, human-centred design (HCD) and prototyping to better understand their health, financial, technological and socio-cultural needs.

We focused on women in the informal segment who, according to Financial Sector Deepening Kenya’s (FSD Kenya’s) FinAccess data, represent 81.8% of Kenyan women and earn less than KES 15,000, making them financially unhealthy.

Taking a systems-thinking approach, we involved health & community stakeholders, including health facilities, practitioners, administrators, community health workers and financial institutions such as savings and credit cooperatives organisations (SACCOs) and chamas. Understanding the challenge’s context was just as effective as understanding the human factors.

Through our research, prototyping and testing, we were able to design a solution for MomCare that would:

  1. Enable quality care: Improving indicators to understand and implement quality maternity care.
  2. Leverage technology for financial participation: Designing ways that MomCare can improve the visibility of pregnancy costs and financial planning for women while also helping facilities increase revenue when delivering maternity care.
  3. Empower with information: Equipping women and facilities with relevant information and collecting it along the pregnancy journey for service improvement.
  4. Build a network for connections and engagements: Facilitating meaningful interactions among the various system actors to improve maternal and child healthcare.

Curious to find out more about our MomCare project or our product design services? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us via email at