Nairobi/Kenya, November 21, 2022: Pregnancy is a challenging and often lonely journey for women in Sub-Saharan Africa. Access to qualified experts in case of an issue is burdensome, high-quality information often missing, and aspects such as pregnancy-related depression neglected. Two healthcare companies have decided to go together to redefine this journey: MumsVillage has built the largest pregnancy community in Kenya; Malaica has built a novel online coaching program for pregnant women.
The pregnancy journey is broken
Women in Sub-Saharan Africa experience a wealth of challenges during pregnancy. They are spending lots of time at hospitals. They often experience that supplies are out of stock. No one has time to discuss worries, fully understand their medical history, or provide educational insights. Mental health issues such as anxiety and depression get little attention. First time Mums are especially overwhelmed.
These challenges are reflected in the numbers. Maternal mortality is 100x higher in Sub-Saharan Africa than in Europe. According to the latest UNICEF data, this has worsened during the pandemic (see here).
Malaica is building a powerful online program for pregnant women
Malaica has designed a remote pregnancy support program to change the status quo. A dedicated nurse midwife is supporting pregnant women as a coach. She makes sure that Kenyan women get the support they need. The compliance with Kenyan pregnancy guidelines is as important as comprehensive emotional support throughout the emotional journey. The Malaica program is delivered remotely.
Dr. Lorraine Muluka, a Kenyan OB/GYN as well as Co-Founder and CEO of Malaica, says that “the results of the first two cohorts of the program have been impressive. Immediate access to a qualified nurse midwife throughout the pregnancy is a game changer for many Kenyan women. This personal relationship has massively increased compliance with pregnancy guidelines. Furthermore, it opens the possibility to discuss mental health issues, domestic violence and other topics which have often been neglected so far.”
MumsVillage has built the largest pregnancy community in Kenya
Many pregnancy-related resources have come from the US in the past, despite the fact that the context of women in Sub-Saharan Africa is often very different. Isis Nyong’o, the Founder and Chair of MumsVillage, wanted to change this.
Educated at Stanford and Harvard and with work experience from Google and MTV, she ventured out to build the largest pregnancy and parenting community in Kenya. More than 100,000 women are passionately contributing to a buzzing community, supporting each other throughout this journey. Thousands of high quality articles and posts have been published.
“The majority of young women in Kenya are online now. They are eager to access high quality information and support each other in this emotional, vulnerable phase of their lives,” says Isis Nyong’o. “Malaica’s midwife-led program perfectly fits our objective: making this journey safe and enjoyable for every Kenyan woman.”
The merger enables massive scaling
Based on a perfectly aligned mission, MumsVillage and Malaica have decided to join forces to operate as one company, with Isis Nyong’o joining as a Malaica Board member and Co-Founder.
Dr. Lorraine Muluka is excited: “There is so much work to be done to make pregnancy safe and convenient in Sub-Saharan Africa. Our impact and reach can be massively accelerated jointly with MumsVillage. We are looking forward to this next phase. Stay tuned for exciting updates.”
Malaica is a fastly growing Kenyan digital health startup on a mission to make the pregnancy journey safe and convenient for millions. The company is driven by a team of OBGYNs, midwives, femtech experts, engineers and entrepreneurs. Established at the beginning of 2022, the team is both women as well as African led. The initial success of the startup has attracted the attention of globally leading institutions and investors. Further information can be found on malaica.com, with periodic updates delivered on linkedin.com/company/malaica.
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