On 20 May 2021, Health[e]Foundation started the feasibility assessment for the project entitled “Empowering Moroccan women with the LUCY reproductive and maternal health app” which has been financed by an RVO Small Business Innovation Research Grant.
The LUCY Morocco app is an innovative approach to increase the access to complete and accurate health information and improve the communication between health providers and their clients. By promoting the access to healthcare information services for those who are remote from healthcare and hospitals and helping them to obtain and maintain healthy lifestyle habits we aim to prevent complications or illnesses during pregnancy or after childbirth.
The feasibility study explored the interest, acceptance, market potential and business case of the LUCY app for the Moroccan market. For this purpose, we did not only reach out to the end-users (pregnant women and mothers of newborn babies) but also approached possible paying stakeholders, such as companies and clinics connected to maternal and infant health. Over the course of 5 months, structured desk research, individual interviews and digital surveys were conducted with the help of MEYS Emerging Markets Research.
The results of the study confirmed a strong willingness and interest amongst pregnant women and mothers of newborns in Morocco to use the LUCY app when it would be available to them. Additionally, it confirmed that there are commercial companies and clinics in Morocco as well as members of the Moroccan diaspora living in the Netherlands that would be interested to invest and commit to the LUCY app. Over 70% of the interviewed clinics would be interested in investing in the LUCY app as an additional service towards their clients. For all he respondents, the main reason would be to sensitize pregnant women and mothers of newborns about their health, followed by providing easily accessible health information, 24/7 availability of health information, improving the health-seeking behavior, improving health outcomes and increasing knowledge.
“It [a health app] helps to give advice on problems or difficulties that you may have during pregnancy, such as sensations or contractions, in an unusual period, or loss of water. Or even after giving birth advice on breastfeeding to prevent the child from suffocating, for example. Basically, answers that allow you to calm down in times of panic or questioning.” – Moroccan Pregnant woman (33 years)
“Yes, it [a pregnancy and newborn care app] will certainly relieve me, it will answer many of my questions, it will help me.” – Moroccan Pregnant woman (39 years)
The needs and recommendations expressed by pregnant women and mothers of newborns, as well as potential investors, are important contributions for the next steps to bring the LUCY app to Morocco.
Health[e]Foundation has incorporated the input and findings of the feasibility study into the proposal for the next stage of research and development. This includes country specific health information in line with national guidelines and standards (with extra emphasis on nutrition advise and mental health); make the app available in Arabic and French; test an in-app call/message functionality with local doctors; and develop and test breastfeeding videos. Together with local partners and ambassadors we want to expand our customer network and succeed in the business development of the LUCY app as a impactful m-health service in Morocco. By the end of the research and development phase we aim to have sufficient revenue to break-even on the investment and maintenance costs of LUCY Morocco and provide it as a sustainable service for pregnant women and mothers of newborns in Morocco. Our ultimate goal is to empower Moroccan women with the LUCY reproductive and maternal health app, which will be offered to them for free via a self-sustaining model with customers and (technical) partners in Morocco.