“It is estimated that 7,700 women die each year in Kenya from pregnancy related complications. This translates to 21 women dying each day or one woman every hour from preventable causes, making the need to address safe motherhood a human rights imperative” This is according to the Centre for Global health and diplomacy.
Totohealth is addressing the above problem by providing an affordable and innovative mobile technology solution to address the high maternal and newborn mortality rates in Kenya. Totohealth aims to help parents receive targeted and action oriented SMS messages with dates for important vaccination dates, signs and milestones in the child’s health and ability to connect mothers with local hospitals. Totohealth SMS’s predict warning signs in kids, dispel myths, give nutritional advice, teach parents on reproductive health, refer them to the right doctors and clinics near them, reminds them to go for vaccination and clinics and also set appointments with doctors or nurses.
The platform also allows the parent to receive timely guidance and evident-based approaches to improve the health of pregnant mothers and also the child regardless of the type of phone the parent or caregiver has. Totohealth is targeting expectant mothers and parents with kids less than 5 years.
Since inception in March 15th 2014, Totohealth has grown tremendously. Currently the startup has 9 hospitals and 2 organizations using their platform to help improve health outcomes.The organizations are Carolina for Kibera an NGO that fights abject poverty and helps prevent violence through community-based development in the slum of Kibera and Kidogo a social enterprise that improves access to high-quality, affordable early childhood care And education in informal settlements. Kidogo is also incubated at m:lab East Africa.
The startup has managed to signup 4,600 mothers and fathers who are currently using Totohealth to monitor the development of their children and also receive timely and targeted information about their health and that of their children. According to Felix Kimaru the founder of Totohealth, various cases of growth abnormalities that could possibly lead to disabilities have thus far been successfully detected and referred for further care.
The startup was founded by a team of three founders; Felix Kimaru, Victoria Nyakundi and Joseph Murgor. Over the past nine months, the team has grown and currently they have 6 individuals passionate about the mission of the startup.The startup’s revenue comes from a business-to-business (B2B) model.
Totohealth applied for PIVOT East, East Africa’s startup pitching competition and conference last year and despite the startup being at it’s very early stage, the judges saw the potential of the startup to grow and they were able to make it to the final 25 startups that pitched at the finalist conference on 24th – 25th June 2014. They emerged the 1st runners up in the mobile society category. “The feedback and the connections we got from PIVOT East is what has enabled us achieve the much we have today” says Felix Kimaru
Through PIVOT East, Totohealth got an opportunity to be incubated at m:lab East Africa incubation facility. The incubation space offers a quiet and dedicated space conducive for team building and “heads down” focus.
The startup was also part of the Mobile Impact ventures Program (MIVP), m:lab East Africa’s accelerator program for impact ventures with innovative solutions in Agriculture, Education, Health and water. Below is a video of Felix Kimaru explaining his experience in the program.
The startup raised 15,333 Euros through the Cheetah Fund crowdfunding campaign which was held last year. In addition to working with hospitals and NGOs, the startup was invited to partner with Internet.org. “We see ourselves reaching more parents in Kenya through this platform. This is also good for us because of the publicity that has come out of this partnership” says Felix. The startup has also partnered with University of Helsinki to produce video content.
Totohealth participate in Startup Sauna, 2014’s Fall Program. According to Felix, The program was important for Totohealth because of the business coaching sessions and access to potential partners in Europe. The startup was also shortlisted to showcase their product in Europe’s Premier Investor and Startup Conference called Slush. The conference had over 14,000 attendees.