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U.S. based Nigerian doctor develops application to reduce child deaths

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Sick child on a hospital bed under the watch of tired mother

Sick child on a hospital bed under the watch of tired mother

An assistant professor of oral pathology, radiology, and medicine at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry, United States (U.S.) and co-founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the non-profit organization Health Trends, Azeez Butali, has developed a new application, Help My Pikin, that helps to lower the mortality rate of children aged five and under in Nigeria.

Butali in a statement made available to The Guardian said he would formally announce the application, which he developed at University of Iowa to better connect mothers of infants and young children with healthcare providers at an international unveiling scheduled for Friday, May 20, by 12 p.m. at GolfView Hotel and Suites, 12, General Adeyinka Adebayo Road, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos.

The oral pathologist said healthcare specialists, including dietitians, neonatologists and community health specialists, will convene the same day to develop short messages that will be sent to patients via the application.

Butali and other members of his Health Trends team, including Dr. Osayame Ekhaguere, Co-Founder and Director of Clinical Services for Health Trends; Priscilla Dikko, Health Trends Administrative Manager; and Dr. Saheed Arogunre, Health Trends Field Manager South-South, will be available to answer media questions.

The media parley is being organized by Ijeshatedo Boys Secondary School Old Students Association (IBOSA), Surulere, Lagos.

Several reports have shown that Nigeria has the distinction of having one of the world’s highest child mortality rates of about 2,300 children under five die each day in the country, or 840,000 each year and the highest percentage of individuals with mobile phones at an estimated 95 percent. It has also been shown that the leading cause of the child mortality rate is a lack of communication between mothers and doctors.

Available statistics indicates that with a ratio of one doctor to more than 2,000 children, communication can be overwhelming, and children rarely receive the checkups, routine immunizations, or follow-up visits after sickness or injury that would help them thrive.

According to the statement, Butali and his team at the University of Iowa created a nonprofit organization, Healthcare Trends, which has developed software and a related app that enables healthcare providers to text, email, or send voice messages to mothers reminding them about appointments and immunizations and providing important information about practices that can help protect the health and safety of their children. Butali hopes to expand the reach of the service to other developing countries.

The statement noted: “To help raise money in support of their efforts, Butali’s team has launched a crowd-funding website, Help My Pikin (Pikin being the Nigerian word for child), at https://onemissionfundraising.com/fundraisers/help-my-pikin/, with a goal of raising $10,000. The crowd-funding campaign was launched with help from the University of Iowa Office of Research and Economic Development’s UI Ventures programme. More information about the non-profit organization, its software and its app may be found at http://healthcaretrends.co/. A video about the project may be viewed at https://vimeo.com/157658728/de45c61ab0.”



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