Momby: Personalized nutrition consultations with virtual assistants
Making quality health care into a matter of equality
Through our AI digital assistant, Doti, mothers, and fathers in Viet Nam are supported with up-to-date evidence and tailored advice on breastfeeding, nutrition, and the healthy development of their baby. Momby – our mobile platform, can be accessed by all, helping to bring quality health care to the home. Momby is also working to change negative social norms, repositioning the responsibility for the care, health, and development of a baby as belonging with both mothers and fathers.
A disruptive innovation – A new idea, model, product, or service in an existing market.
We partner with Momby Ltd, an AI company based in Viet Nam.
Challenging the Status Quo to Impact Nutrition
Q: What solution is offered by this innovation?
Around the world, COVID-19 is negatively affecting access to health care services. Long-term social distancing has made it difficult for mothers and families to access antenatal care services or child nutritional counseling. At the same time, in Viet Nam, mothers can also feel overwhelmed by online unverified information and by aggressive marketing, and, as such, are often unable to identify reliable sources of information.
Momby is designed to address these challenges in Viet Nam by providing timely, responsible, and reliable content. The App includes consultations provided by Doti, a digital assistant that answers questions, provides evidence-based information on child nutrition developed by a team of paediatricians and obstetricians, and recommends good practices. Any questions beyond the scope of Doti’s processing power are passed to a team of experts made up of experienced obstetricians and paediatricians. The App provides timely follow-up consultations based on the profile and feedback of each user and has a referral function to health experts.
Momby commits to not advertise or cross-market breastmilk substitutes, including formula, feeding bottles, and pacifiers.
Q: What is most exciting about Momby?
Southeast Asia is a vibrant, emerging digital market with over 400 million internet users and a booming digital economy. Momby responds to this evolving market by engaging users through trusted sources of information and by offering a referral function for parents to speak with doctors.
What is exciting is that this platform is built to change social norms and perceptions that child nutrition is purely a mother’s job and instead promotes a collaborative experience. Two versions are provided for mothers and fathers with content tailored to each audience.
Q: How does Momby support system wide change?
Momby promotes breastfeeding practices, protecting babies’ access to their most suitable and optimal source of nutrition. Momby also provides evidence-based consultation on maternal health, early essential newborn care, the postpartum diet, and complementary feeding to support families in ensuring good nutrition for mothers and children in line with targets in Viet Nam’s National Nutrition Policy.
Momby is both scalable and affordable to many parents on low income. We offer a basic account with free health consultation with Doti on breastfeeding and early essential newborn care. For more in-depth consultations, Momby charges $15 a year.
Looking Ahead: Lessons for our Impact Network
We have encountered challenges relating to balancing social benefits and profits, especially when the company is in the early stages of business development. To solve this problem, Momby leveraged word-of-mouth marketing to increase its customer base and drive customers’ willingness to pay for quality content.
Alive & Thrive, together with Momby, are creating AI core functions, such as a voice interface, and a community of users to facilitate peer support and mutual encouragement. In the next three years, our goal is to expand to other Southeast Asian countries and to English speaking countries. We also plan to adapt the AI technology to offer a large scale, free support program for families in difficult circumstances, including people affected by poverty and climate change. We believe our model has the potential to inform future innovations and global public goods.
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