A transportation and telehealth solution which enables continuity of care for high- and medium-risk newborns during the first two months of life.

What is the watotoCare program

watotoCare is a digital health program which keeps newborns enrolled in the healthcare system during the crucial first months of life, when babies are most vulnerable. Currently being piloted in partnership with the Sengerema District Hospital in northern Tanzania between 2024 and 2026, watotoCare enrolls babies who are born at the hospital and assigns a schedule a follow-up care, based on the baby’s health status at discharge.

The watotoCare platform facilitates adherence to the medically-recommended follow-up schedule using two levers: subsidized transports and home-based teleconsultations.

Why We Do This Work

Each year, 2.4 million babies die in their first month of life, making neonatal mortality an urgent priority for the global health community. The contributing factors are complex: lack of health worker skills in identifying peri-natal risk factors, ill-equipped health facilities, the distances from rural communities to health facilities, lack of emergency transportation, and fee barriers to care.  

When newborns and their caregivers do not remain connected to the healthcare system during the vulnerable months after birth, we miss critical opportunities for early identification of risks, referrals, and life-saving treatments. In Tanzania, 6,500 newborns die within the first month of life.

watotoCare Model

watotoCare builds on the platform in Tanzania that was established to support m-mama. The same cadre of community drivers are enrolled to facilitate home-based follow-up visits for newborns. Babies are classified as high-risk, medium-risk or low-risk upon discharge from the hospital and, based on that risk assessment, are assigned a tailored schedule of follow-up visits.

Too often, caregivers lose contact with the healthcare system after a baby is born. Either the distance between the hospital and home is too far, or the cost of transportation is too high, or parents and caregivers simply aren’t aware of potential danger signs. watotoCare removes these barriers.

watotoCare Transports

for high-risk babies, watotoCare connects families to community drivers to make sure that they attend scheduled hospital visits for vital follow-up care.

watotoCare Telehealth

watotoCare facilitates virtual visits for medium-risk babies by providing community drivers with technology and skills, akin to Community Health Workers.

watotoCare is currently being set-up to provide the first newborn transport in July 2024. Over the course of 18 months, watotoCare will enroll over 5,000 newborns, with the goals of increasing retention in the care system and improving health outcomes for newborns.