Using design and technology to battle pregnancy related mortality

Bonzun, a pregnancy app designed by Doberman, was recently released in China, a country where twelve women die daily from preventable maternal complications.

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Globally, over 800 women die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth (WHO, 2016).

Maternal mortality is still a major problem in lower and middle income countries, and there is a clear connection between mortality and the lack of correct information and maternity care. In China there are more than 20 million pregnancies each year, and there is still no official public information or support accessible to people in need.

Having endured pregnancy complications herself, the Swedish Founder Bonnie Roupé created Bonzun with the goal of saving lives. Starting out not speaking the Chinese language, nor having a native business partner, she now works closely with hospitals, universities and insurance companies all over the country.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Bonzun,” says Tove Blomgren, Creative Director at Doberman. “Coming from Sweden, a country with a long tradition of low maternal mortality and paid maternity leave, I believe that technology is a powerful tool for democratizing maternity care and women’s health. With Bonzun we’re putting a virtual midwife in your pocket and offering quality maternity care to all women, everywhere.”

Pregnancy-related stigma in China is huge. As a result, many women don’t voice their health concerns, questions and problems. This, combined with limited and expensive maternal care, results in an unusually high maternal death rate.

“Bonzun provides a holistic approach to pregnancies, addressing anything from the most common symptoms to all different emotions you could experience, while challenging what’s considered normal,” says Tove Blomgren. “Instead of using romanticized animations that can be found in other apps, we decided to use a more modern approach. Our fetuses and babies are actually realistically shaped and their functions based on augmented reality.”

The information in the app is strictly evidence-based and developed in collaboration with the Karolinska Institutet and the Swedish Midwife Association. Future app features will include an AI bot to guide and answer questions both during and post-pregnancy.

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“Research and evidence-based content is essential. I wanted to make knowledge accessible to people outside academia. Many other pregnancy apps use bots to scan information randomly, or provide entertainment rather than medical facts,” says Bonnie Roupé, a natural born entrepreneur, who started her first own business at the age of 16. With a willingness to take leaps and try new things, she has done everything from holding a successful international career with Ericsson to publishing a golf magazine for women to sailing across the North Atlantic Ocean.

With over 1.7 million downloads, Bonzun has been top-ranked amongst pregnancy apps in China.

In addition to designing the Bonzun app, Doberman Group is also a proud co-investor through its accelerator Doberman Forward. Doberman Forward invests in early stage, design-driven tech companies with passionate entrepreneurs. Doberman Forward is part of Doberman Group.

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Bonzun empowers pregnant women with knowledge and solutions that will improve health and save lives.

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