The United States has the highest rates of maternal mortality in the industrialized world—hard to believe, but tragically true.

“Women are twice as likely to die from complications of pregnancy or childbirth in the U.S. than in Canada or the United Kingdom,” explains the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. “For women of color, especially, the risk is infuriatingly, heartbreakingly, unforgivably high.”

Mohamed Kamara’s story is just one tragic example of a real family rocked by the maternal mortality crisis. In May 2017 having lost both his sister (in Sierra Leone) and aunt (in Columbus, Ohio) to preventable pregnancy related causes (pregnancy hemorrhage and preeclampsia), Mohamed Kamara’s grief fueled a determination to confront the maternal mortality crisis head on.

Up to that point Kamara had been quite successful in the world of finance, but he decided to make a stark professional pivot. “I was a 30-year-old working as a senior financial analyst in a tax and M&A group,” he explains in an email interview. “I immediately felt I needed to be in healthcare whether that is health IT or finance in order to learn and journey into fixing the maternal health gap for women of color.” Kamara then assumed a CFO role with a behavior healthcare clinic in in Washington D.C. and volunteered with Project Hope to support women in the Dominican Republic. Those experiences taught him a lot about the root causes of maternal care disparities, and he soon determined that a sophisticated, culturally sensitive telehealth platform could prove to be a game-changer. “I began the process of UI/UX design and creating a prototype via Visio and Figma to write the first line of codes for the web version then hired software back-end developers to build out the rest of the patient and physician mobile apps on iOS and Android.”

After his sister’s unexpected death in 2017, Kamara was expected to help care for her three children—Fatmata, Mohamed Jr., and Mamusu. He could have played it safe by staying in corporate finance, but he chose a different path.

Credit: Forbes