The mHealth Alliance has announced that it is calling for a global effort to accelerate the use of modern information and communications technologies (ICTs), especially wireless, to improve maternal and newborn health in the developing world.
The Alliance, which includes the United Nations Foundation, the World Health Organization's Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH), Family Care International, the GSM Association, the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing and Bloomberg School of Public Health, PATH, and the White Ribbon Alliance, issued a joint statement calling for financial and organizational support to leverage the growing use of wireless technology to expand the reach of proven maternal and newborn health interventions. PMNCH is facilitating the development of a joint action plan that would lead to a maternal and newborn mHealth initiative, which would identify how technology can enable known interventions that address maternal and newborn health needs; design and build the first ICT models and the content and policies needed to do this; create new metrics for evaluating programs; test integrated, end-to-end, scalable solutions in a variety of countries to learn what works best; and share lessons learned and best practices with the global maternal health communities.
According to global public health sources, an estimated 342,000 to 550,000 women die during pregnancy and childbirth each year, while 3.7 million children die each year before they are thirty days old.
"Technological innovation is critical to meeting the UN Millennium Development Goals," said Tore Godal, special advisor on global health to the prime minister of Norway. "This mHealth initiative can help deliver more health for the money in delivering safer pregnancies and newborns around the world."