New and old cell phones are set to be used to send health information to mothers throughout the world in a new scheme that has been announced by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA) is the name of the scheme that is a joint undertaking between the US Agency for International Development and Johnson & Johnson, with support from other agencies and companies such as BabyCenter LLC, mHealth Alliance and the UN Foundation. The Department of State and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy have also played a part in the new project, with new and old cell phones being a handy way to easily spread information.
The Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action will send messages informing pregnant women and new mothers of such things as ways to care for the baby they are carrying as well as giving information about warning signs to watch out for. This will expose some common myths and misconceptions about pregnancy and motherhood and help women to connect with local services for health and family planning. For the next three years, the project will focus on three countries, Bangladesh, India, and South Africa, and the scheme results in those countries will then serve as guidance for developing the project throughout the rest of the world.
“If we are going to develop 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 USAID administrator Raj Shah.