Jody Lori of the University of Michigan in the U.S. will implement a WhatsApp platform for medical staff and community health workers in rural areas in Liberia to communicate with staff at larger hospitals to accelerate the referral and treatment of obstetric emergencies. Liberia has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. Many of the leading medical causes of death, including obstructed labor, are preventable if the women were more quickly referred to higher level care centers where life-saving procedures like cesarean sections can be safely performed. They will test their approach at one referral hospital and 20 rural clinics by training community health workers to better identify obstetric emergencies and refer them on using the WhatsApp platform. At the referral hospital, they will implement an additional triage system to decrease the decision-to-delivery time for women requiring cesarean section, as well as ensuring the women are aware of and involved in the medical decisions.
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