Two years ago, LUCY, Health[e]Foundation’s smartphone application for pregnant women and mothers of newborns was first launched in Suriname. Since its introduction, a lot of developments have taken place: LUCY expanded rapidly in Suriname; LUCY was introduced in Ethiopia; and LUCY reached women on a global scale. Time to reflect: what have we achieved and what will be our next steps?
Informed pregnancies in Suriname, Ethiopia, and beyond
Our LUCY journey started in Suriname, where the app was first launched in March 2020. The app was specifically tailored to the Surinamese context and has been rolled out successfully with the expert endorsement of health providers participating in our blended learning programs. Within 2 years, nearly 4,500 women have been actively using LUCY in Suriname. We are proud of the fact that we have supported a substantial part of the ~ 11,000 births that take place in Suriname each year.
Following successful implementation in Suriname, LUCY was introduced in Ethiopia in November 2021. LUCY has been well received and registered an active user-base in Ethiopia of more than 500 women within four months, excluding numerous women who have been reached with unregistered LUCY downloads via offline app sharing.
Next to the more than 5,000 women in Suriname and Ethiopia who are enjoying access to accurate health information in the LUCY app that is specifically tailored to their country context, an additional number of >1,600 women from over 110 countries are using the global version of the LUCY app. We are delighted that the LUCY app can facilitate informed pregnancies around the globe with substantial user bases from India, Côte d’Ivoire, Hungary, to the United States.
LUCY’s birthday wishes: continuous improvement & scale-up
In the next years, we hope to continuously improve and build upon the LUCY app based on needs assessments, user feedback, and anonymous data analytics. With these insights, we have already launched LUCY 2.0 in September 2021 by offering new features (e.g., appointment tracker and e-communication with health providers). We are aiming to continue with the development of new functionalities, while safeguarding the accessible and straightforward design of the app to be inclusive for smartphone users with limited digital literacy.
Lastly, we aim to scale up LUCY in sub-Saharan Africa and reach more women by designing country-specific LUCY versions that can be used in collaboration with their health providers and function as a continuous information source in between antenatal and postnatal care visits. We are excited to empower many more women across the globe to make informed decisions about their own health and the health of their baby!