Determined to solve preventable maternal mortality in Nigeria

Many entrepreneurs launch businesses because they’ve identified a problem that they just cannot leave unsolved. Dr. Enokela Moses is a Microsoft #Insiders4Good Fellow and a sonologist specializing in diagnostic imaging for pregnant women. As a physician in an urban hospital in Nigeria, he often saw pregnant women arrive from remote areas to receive care only when it was too late.

“I watched while an expectant mother and her unborn child lost their lives, and there was nothing I could do, because it was too late,” Moses recalls. “I witnessed several scenarios like this, where the women had never had proper medical care, but their deaths could have been prevented.”

According to Moses, the chances of a woman dying in pregnancy or childbearing in Nigeria is 1 in 13, with the vast majority of deaths occurring in low-resource, rural areas where there are no doctors and medical equipment. Women who live in such areas have few options when it comes to receiving prenatal care. The nearest hospital could be very far away, and poor women have few means to travel such distances.

Determined to tackle this challenge, Moses launched SonoCare, a startup that deploys a mobile unit to rural areas, bringing diagnostic imaging and exam services to the pregnant women themselves. SonoCare partners with local healthcare centers to fill the gaps in their capacity and reach patients in need.

“Some time ago, we were called in to evaluate a case of a woman who was pregnant with twins,” Moses says. “We discovered that a traditional birth attendant had been giving her the wrong medication and the wrong attention she required, because they couldn’t tell the actual nature of her problem.”

By the time SonoCare’s mobile unit received the woman, one of the twins was exhibiting a life-threatening abnormality. But fortunately, by discovering the abnormality in time, the team was able to implement a treatment plan and the fetus survived.

“We are demonstrating that with proper care, we can save lives,” Moses says. “We can prevent complications of pregnancies if we can detect these problems earlier.”

Moses’s vision is for all women to have healthy pregnancies and ensure that women’s lives are no longer at risk due to childbirth. He credits a mentor with giving him important advice that he carries with him to this day: “Go out and do what you have to do. Then never give up.”

Dr. Enokela Moses was awarded a Microsoft #Insiders4Good Fellowship, part of a new initiative at Microsoft designed to support promising entrepreneurs with extraordinary solutions to social problems.