South African partnership hopes to prove text messages can save the lives of mothers and children

According to UNICEF, in South Africa the child mortality rate has fallen from 61 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 45 in 2012. But that is still higher than targets set for the country in the United Nation Millennium Development Goals. And some 1,500 women died from pregnancy and childbirth-related causes in 2013, according to the World Health Organization. This figure has changed little from where it stood two decades ago.

MAMA is an example of a public-private partnership (PPP), a collaboration of governments, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), private companies and other entities that get together to fund projects and implement programs that address some of the world’s most challenging health and development issues.

MAMA, a public-private partnership led by Johnson & Johnson and USAID, aims to inform pregnant women and new mothers via text messages.

Launched three years ago, MAMA is a joint effort led by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Johnson & Johnson, with active projects in South Africa and Bangladesh, and planned rollouts in India and Nigeria. It is also one of many so-called mHealth programs begun in recent years, seeking to leverage the rapid growth of mobile phones to address vast public health needs in developing countries.

Through MAMA South Africa, registered pregnant women and new mothers receive text messages twice a week that guide them through their pregnancy and the first year of their children’s lives. The MAMA text message program reaches 12,000 women in six clinics in Johannesburg, the nation’s largest city. It also has an online component that reaches hundreds of thousands of women nationally through informational, interactive sites and weekly quizzes.

Read the full article on the Global Post

or go directly to the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action site (MAMA)

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Posted on October 9, 2014, in Update and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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