The U.S. Agency for International Development has announced the launch of the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action, an effort to use mobile technology to deliver vital health information to new and expectant mothers.
Over the next three years, USAID and Johnson & Johnson will work in partnership with the United Nations Foundation, the mHealth Alliance, and BabyCenter — initially in Bangladesh, India, and South Africa — to help coordinate and increase the impact of existing mobile health programs, provide resources and technical assistance to promising new business models, and build evidence on the effective application of mobile technology to improve maternal health. The partnership, which is expected to mobilize up to $10 million for the effort, will also foster collaboration among similar initiatives in other countries to accelerate efforts to reach millions of women with mobile phone access. Lessons learned from these and other initiatives will be shared globally in a coordinated exchange of information.
Supporting partners will provide expertise, tools, resources, and a forum to exchange knowledge and share best practices to support the research and extend the reach of promising initiatives. The partnership was developed in collaboration with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Department of State.
"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," said USAID administrator Rajiv Shah. "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."