WASHINGTON, D.C.- We recently celebrated International Women’s Day, a whole day devoted to empowering girls and women to share their voices and create positive change.
One of the most profound ways that organizations worldwide are making a change is by promoting information and communications technologies (ICTs) to enable girls and women to be part of the discussion.
The widespread use of mobile phones is one channel through which women are collaborating with one another.
Organizations such as the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA) are spearheading this movement.
The MAMA initiative was launched in 2011 by former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It is a public-private partnership between various organizations, including the U.S. Agency for International Development, Johnson & Johnson, the United Nations Foundation and BabyCenter.
MAMA’s mission is “to engage an innovative global community to deliver vital health information to new and expectant mothers through mobile phones.”
The program works directly in three different countries–Bangladesh, India, and South Africa. It provides expecting mothers with mobile phones, on which they receive vital and culturally appropriate maternal health messages regarding everything from prenatal nutrition to birth.
The goal of the program is to be able to inform mothers who do not have access to healthcare services.
More than 800 women die of preventable childbirth or pregnancy-related complications each day, resulting in the death of 3.1 million newborns each year.
MAMA is addressing this reality while promoting the use of mobile phones.
It all began with a three-year, $10 million investment to launch programs within the three countries and use maternal, newborn and child health experts to create culturally sensitive mobile messages to which the women could relate.
Why mobile messages?
They are portable and accessible and can help access the hardest-to-reach mothers around the world. In addition to this, they introduce women to a technological tool that will boost national and global economies and strengthen education for all.
Examples of received mobile messages from MAMA include:
- “It’s time for the second tetanus toxoid vaccine. Just one more and your baby will be protected against tetanus. Go to your clinic now.
- “A cord infection can make your baby very ill. Sponge the cord with clean water and leave it uncovered to dry. It needs nothing else.”
- “Baby kicking? Try tickling him when he kicks. He can feel your touch now. If his movements slow down, talk to your midwife.”
These messages are now being used by 290 organizations in 69 countries across the world. It is estimated that they have reached about 141 million women.
MAMA has made great strides in improving access to care for mothers and children across the globe. They have also introduced a powerful tool, the mobile phone, to a percentage of the population that previously did not have access.
By using technology to improve maternal health, MAMA is positively investing in women and providing them with the tools to build a brighter future.
Sources: Diplomatic Courier, MAMA
Photo: Cabi Blog