Providing antenatal and health information using mobile devicesBy MAMA
MAMA texts lifesaving health information to new and expectant mothers. The global campaign uses technology to stop 800 women dying of childbirth or pregnancy related complications every day and 3.1 million newborn deaths every year.
The project began in Bangladesh, where 5,200 women die annually from avoidable, pregnancy related causes, and where it took just 18 months for half a million women to subscribe to the service. Aponjon, its Bengali name, sent out messages twice a week, in SMS or sixty second mini-plays, for free or just 2.5c per text, with pregnancy and child health related storylines, for those who can’t read.
The project’s success and scalability led its founding partners to launch a partnership to roll it out in South Africa and India, countries, like Bangladesh, where there is a high coincidence of mobile phones and poor maternal health. The MAMA (Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action) alliance has invested $10m in direct funding, from USAID, Johnson&Johnson, mHealth Alliance, UN Foundation and BabyCenter, to create and strengthen country programmes and to build tools and expert health messages that third parties can download, adapt and share all around the world. This content has already been used and downloaded by 300 organisations in 70 countries, reaching 1.2m women and their families.
In South Africa, a country where 40% of maternal deaths are HIV/AIDS related, there are more SIM cards than people. MAMA South Africa launched in May 2013 and had 500,000 subscribers in just two years, providing antenatal care information, advice for HIV-positive mothers, including how to prevent transmitting the virus to infants, and prompting mothers to go to clinics.
'We have long known how to keep a pregnant woman healthy so she can deliver and raise a healthy, happy baby. With the spread of mobile phone technology, even to the poorest communities, we now have the ability to get that information directly into the hands of the women who need it most,' says Kirsten Gagnaire, Executive Director of MAMA.
Image courtesy of MAMA
Last updated: 19th of September, 2014