Maternal & Newborn Health



Improving postpartum depression treatment in Africa through standardized screening practices

Team Lead


Solution Pitch

The Problem

Postpartum depression (PPD) has profound effects on the quality of life, social functioning, and economic productivity of women and their families. On average, between 10 and 15 percent of all women experience PPD. With an average birth rate in Africa of 4.7—and the chance of contracting PPD increasing with each birth—African mothers are at serious risk of being impacted by PPD. Currently, the healthcare system in Africa gives little attention to this condition in terms of identification, diagnosis, and treatment.

The Solution

Maisha helps new mothers, their families, and healthcare professionals build partnerships with each other through an intelligent SMS messaging solution that uses machine learning and natural language processing to provide PPD screening, treatment and support.

Users take a series of short surveys via SMS both leading up to and after delivery that indicate whether they might be suffering from PPD and the severity level. If results of the survey show signs of PPD, it is flagged to the clinician at the local clinic, who can triage the patient to Maisha’s network of psychologists. Maisha offers both in-person and virtual support. Maisha enables mental health professionals to treat 5 times more patients as compared to the traditional model. 


Maisha has a 70 percent retention rate for patients undergoing treatment and an 8 percent referral rate.

Market Opportunity

According to WHO, African governments will need to spend more than $3 billion on mental health by 2025. UKAID estimates the spending on mental health by African families will increase from the current $1.5 to over $10 per year, comparable with developed economies where families spend over $20 per year. Most African countries have a mobile phone penetration rate of 80 percent, and the African telehealth market  is estimated to be worth $10 billion. Existing PPD solutions in Africa are limited in both location and scope. Maisha is designed to be an all-encompassing one stop solution to post-partum depression and mental health in general. All stakeholders get assisted from one point. 

Organization Goals

Maisha currently aims to: 

  • Make mental health screening a part of normal routines during hospital visits in Africa

  • Add 200,000 active accounts per year for the first 2 years and grow to 1,000,000 active accounts within 5 years across 5 different countries

  • Use Kenya and Uganda as a template to roll out services to other African countries. The ultimate goal is to have all African mothers using Maisha

Partnership Goals

The Maisha team currently seeks:

  • Partnerships with Kenyan & Ugandan governments through public private partnership (PPP) arrangements or international financial institution funding

  • Partnerships with the African union and other regional country unions such as ECOWAS to standardize mental health practice across countries

  • Partnerships with academic and research institutions. 

  • Partnerships with religious organizations in Africa to reduce stigma and act as a point of service

  • Mental health experts based in Africa interested in joining Thalia Psycotherapy’s board of advisors or board of ethics. 

Solver Team

Organization Type:

Nairobi, Kenya


Working in:
Kenya and Uganda



Solution Team:

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