Cradle Count: An app with a social mission

Femme Smart is a new segment at continnect. In this segment, we look at apps created by or for women. We talk about newly created apps- apps that help with social gains and empowerment, lifestyle apps and apps that are used particularly by women every day and apps that are popular with women across the globe. This week, we discuss the app- Cradle Count

Cradle Count

Cradle Count is an app with a social mission. Its founder, Kesandu Nwokolo describes it as an app that aims to reduce the infant mortality rate in Africa. Cradle count was launched in October 2015 is available on google play store and has over 2000 users from around Africa.

The Idea

“Cradle Count started as a passion. I wanted to contribute in my little way to the Sustainable Development Goals,” says Kesandu. Born and brought up in Nigeria, Kesandu now works as a software developer in Baltimore, USA. Kesandu got in touch with doctors in Nigeria. Among many issues that were brought up,

Kesandu was particularly interested in the difficulty pregnant women in Nigeria faced, especially institutional deliveries. Nigeria has the 10th highest maternal mortality in the world; about 90 women die daily due to complications arising out of pregnancy. Moreover, a skilled birth assistant attends to only 4 out of every 10 deliveries. Kesandu dug deeper and mined the data from the National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS)- A health database that monitors the population and heath situation in Nigeria. Lack of prenatal care and errors in finding the delivery date meant that in many cases the babies were born suddenly with no chance to reach the facility.

The survey found that 44 per cent of mothers in the North East cited this as a reason for delivering at home, along with 41 per cent in the North Central zone, 37 per cent in the South East, and 26 per cent in the South West. This is particularly important because it may reflect the need for improvements in the quality of antenatal care (ANC) received. It is during ANC visits that the expected date of delivery is typically determined. The mother is usually expected to deliver any moment from 38-42 weeks of gestation. “I began to think of developing something that reminded them of the expected date of delivery and was easily accessible could perhaps solve this problem. I got down to work on this idea and Cradle Count was born. It became imperative to utilize the available technology to improve on planning even at the household levels,” she says.

The App

Cradle Count similar to other due-date calculators- allows the user to put in the last day of her menstrual period (LMP) and the baby’s name, which is optional. When a user hits the calculate button, the App flashes her delivery date and also does a countdown to the number of days left before baby’s arrival. There’s also a month-day-hour breakdown. Once saved, the app keeps the mother updated with tips- daily, weekly or monthly, whichever the mother chooses.

And this is how it is different from other due-date calculators. “It is the only one that actually counts down with the expecting mother” says Kesandu. The app is available in English and Hausa, one of the Nigerian languages. “This was first because that tribe has the highest mortality rates in expecting mothers and their babies,” says Kesandu. She is also working on making the app available in Swahili and French.

The Future

Kesandu through her app and her mission is also trying to help women who are not tech savvy. “I am trying to reach out to local hospitals to sensitize the community around them to use the applications if they have a phone,” she says. Kesandu says her main goal is to make the app helpful to pregnant women and health care providers everywhere. “I hope it gets there,” she says. We wish her luck!

You can download the Cradle Count app here and reach  Kesandu Nwokolo here

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