Mobile Service Helps New Mothers, One Text at a Time
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Name: Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA)
Big Idea: Providing new and expectant mothers in need with free health information via mobile phones.
Why It’s Working: Women in low-income families, who are at risk because they live in countries with elevated maternal and infant mortality rates, are receiving vital information that could save their own lives and their babies’ lives.
MAMA, also known as the Mobile Mama Alliance, works with low-income and at-risk mothers and families in India — as well as Bangladesh and South Africa, which are countries with high populations of mobile phone users — to provide vital health information through SMS text messaging and simple voice messages.
“We incorporate insights and delightful details alongside health messages, sending mothers week by week messages that tell her how her baby is growing, developing the emotional connection,” according to the Mobile MAMA Alliance. “Once you gain a mother’s trust, she is much more likely to act on the vital health messages she is receiving.”
For example, BabyCenter developed adaptable messages that cover a multitude of issues or topics in pregnancy and the baby’s first year of life. Mothers receive complete sets of audio messages and have the option of one to three messages a week. You can hear a sample of the message here.
“It is exciting to see this partnership come together,” says U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in her unveiling speech for Mobile MAMA Alliance, which can be seen in the video below.
Clinton goes on to note that every year, nearly 360,000 women worldwide fail to survive childbirth, and 4 million babies die during childbirth or the weeks following — most of these deaths can often be prevented.
“If we are going to improve public health across the developing world, our solutions must be focused on reaching the hard to reach with health information they would otherwise not receive,” says Dr. Rajive Shah, administrator at USAID. “This partnership will harness the power of mobile technology to provide mothers with information about pregnancy, childbirth and the first year of life, empowering these women to make healthy decisions for themselves and their families.”