African Ladies in ICT develop apps for mothers, babies

BY: Gifty Ashitey
Members of the African Ladies in ICT of the Marshalls College with Ms Nancy Ellen Glaser (middle, back row), of Stanford University, USA

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) instituted the International Girls in ICT Day in Geneva in 2010 to inspire and encourage girls and young women to consider careers in the growing fields of Information and Communications Technology (ICT),  

The day is celebrated in April every year across over 150 countries globally, to raise awareness of the current shortage of qualified people and the bright prospects offered by the ever-growing needs of the ICT sector, as well as the importance of bridging the gender gap in what is still erroneously considered a male domain.

As part of activities to mark this year’s event, which fell on Thursday, April 28, two mobile phone applications (Apps) developed by the African Ladies in ICT of the Marshalls College, for nursing and expectant mothers to give them easy access to information and help related to their health, were launched in Accra. 

These are the App for Expectant Mothers and the App for Nursing Mothers. 

With the two apps, nursing and expectant mothers can interact with doctors and access information with the press of a button on their mobile smartphones. They will first have to go to the Google Play Store and download the Pro Mum and Expectant Mum apps to access the information they want.

Receiving tips

According to the students, nursing mothers could use the Pro Mum app to save their babies’ lives by receiving tips on first aid, accessing information from doctors, ambulance services and knowing the nearest facilities to go to for medical help.

On the other hand, the app for Expectant Mothers provides them with information on the week-by-week developmental stages of their unborn babies. They are also given tips on first aid and where to access information from doctors, among others.

In separate interviews with the Daily Graphic, the students said the initiative was part of their contributions to the use of ICT to provide a one-stop information platform for the nursing and expectant mothers. That, among other things, they said, could help to address the issue of high maternal and infant mortality.

The students, who undertook the project, included Peace Tutu, Agnes Kena Agyepong, Laila Ibrahim, Victoria Frimpong, Musharafa Dari Iddisah, Mansura Mamoud, Millicent Amankwah, Joy Tchuasam and Ayisha Kasule.

They were supported by Paul Akacnukwu Nwantu, Newlove Attatsi, Edwin Lamptey, Bright Obiri-Yirenkyi and Lawrence Fosu.

During the presentation of the apps, Nancy Ellen Glaser of Stanford University, who was the Special Guest of Honour for the occasion, remarked: “I feel like I am back home in the United States at Silicon Valley where I live, seeing and hearing all the great things that these young ladies have done in a three-week period.”

The development of the Apps was sponsored by the Founder of Marshalls College, Dr Tetteh Nettey, with support from a steering committee, project managers, coaches, team leaders, as well as the team members.

Visit to Korle Bu

The students indicated that they visited the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital to interact with nursing and expectant mothers in the course of developing the apps.

“Starting with an app was very interesting and I learnt a lot from it. It was not easy interviewing the nursing and expectant mothers because their focus was on being attended to by a doctor or nurse.

“That notwithstanding, the development of the apps is our little contribution to the nursing and expectant mothers of the world, not forgetting the babies of the world,” Miss Ibrahim, one of the students, said.

For Mr Mike Kweku Arthur, the development of the apps was not the end, since it would be constantly updated with new and current information for its users. He indicated that they were for both Ghanaians and foreign users.

Information for nursing and expectant mothers, he said, although available, was scattered so the apps would provide them a single platform for easy access to such information.