Joy Chioma, Founder and Head of Operations at Natal Cares, 2021 WE Empower Finalist, Sub-Saharan Africa
After witnessing the loss of her childhood friend and sister-in-law due to childbirth complications during both pregnancy and delivery, Joy Chioma dedicated herself to taking action. She founded Natal Cares, an all-inclusive social enterprise that harnesses the power of mobile technology and low-cost innovation to combat maternal and infant mortality in Nigeria. The primary focus of Natal Cares is on “mental and emotional health care support, medical monitoring and emergency services to at-risk pregnant women, vulnerable children and nursing mothers.” Chioma and Natal Cares use their resources to advocate for better access to health care, especially in the remote villages and under-served communities of Nigeria. This includes Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps.
Leading the way in women’s reproductive health
Natal Cares has implemented customized access to health care resources for pregnant women and nursing mothers with the disbursement of delivery kits. These kits contain all of the essential supplies required for pregnant women to ensure a clean, safe, and hygienic delivery. In alignment with UN SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being, Natal Cares utilizes mobile technology and machine learning to provide customized health care messages to pregnant women and nursing mothers in six different languages regarding prenatal conditions (e.g., pre-eclampsia and spotting). They also employ these methods to remind women of their antenatal and immunization schedules that are actively registered on the mobile platform.
Chioma aims to use the health care strategies implemented in Nigeria to work directly with traditional birth attendants and basic health care centers to increase the accessibility of these products and services. Chioma and Natal Cares continuously work with partners in the field to spread awareness on prenatal care issues and the importance of cleanliness and sterility at the time of childbirth. In addition, they organize capacity building, workshops and training for traditional birth attendants, local midwives, and young women and girls on the latest delivery methods and techniques. Natal Cares proudly provides these services to advocate for the removal of barriers to the right of safety for women and girls in today’s society.
The WE Empower UN SDG Challenge is a first-of-its-kind global competition for women entrepreneurs who are pushing the UN Sustainable Development Goals and leading innovation in sustainability and climate change through their businesses. This Contributing Series highlights finalists of the Challenge whose work demonstrates how business models and social entrepreneurship can drive global impact.
By Danyelle Kawamura