Revenue from sales helps to maintain the information platform, a freemium model that drives traffic to the site. Items in the kit are simple but essential, such as a solar-powered headlamp, a chart on managing the third stage of labour and a plastic measuring device. ‘Midwives working in basic conditions need to estimate blood loss to evaluate whether to get the mother to a hospital,’ explains Meg, who has 20 years’ experience in health programme strategies and maternal health. ‘Visual estimates are not reliable, especially for night-time labour in homes without electricity.’ In a country such as Liberia, for example, 63% of births take place outside hospitals and only 46% are attended by a skilled practitioner.
Every 90 seconds, a woman dies in childbirth. ‘That’s 358,000 women a year, the vast majority in developing countries,’ says Meg Wirth, CEO of Maternova, a company she founded to pursue a mission close to her heart: to bring these figures down. To do so she has created a three-dimensional business that meshes information services, products and software tools.
Maternova started as an online platform focusing on innovations in the obstetrics market. After receiving countless requests to purchase items featured, Meg decided to expand the business by bundling and selling obstetrics packs for clinicians working in the developing world. ‘The Maternova Pak is not the typical birth kit focusing on hygiene, it also targets the leading cause of maternal mortality in childbirth—haemorrhage. We bundle products that no-one has brought together before and those we can’t find, we develop ourselves.’