Using Technology To Eliminate Maternal And Infant Mortality
Technology is responsible for the level of comfort, convenience and cooperation we enjoy with each other but it is not available everywhere. In countries where there is poor infrastructure the available technology has to be used to provide innovative ways to address many of the debilitating issues these underprivileged areas face. Around the world 360,000 mothers and 4 million babies die each year during child birth or shortly thereafter. Most of these deaths take place in underdeveloped and developing countries and the right information can prevent most of these tragedies from taking place.
Using Available Technology
Currently there are almost six billion mobile phone subscribers around the world making it the technology with the highest penetration rates in developing countries at 79%. The ownership of a mobile phone means information can be delivered anywhere there is a service. More than 100 countries around the world are using the same model to give mothers as well as anyone who needs accurate health information and services.
MAMA or Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action provides information that encourages mothers to get the right basic health care to prevent tragic outcomes for them and their baby. MAMA has experienced very positive results by providing information to expectant mothers and encouraging them to seek health care. Most of the women in these countries who are expecting rely on midwifes who are not capable of dealing with emergency situations. These emergencies generally result in death for the mother, baby or both. The goal for MAMA is to dispel superstations, myths, and misinformation and replace it with the correct information about nutrition, immunization, warning signs and symptoms as well as how to treat common ailments in children such as diarrhea and pneumonia.
Mobiles For Moms
25 million moms around the world get information about pregnancy and other related issues through the internet. This however is not possible in many parts of the world. Mobile phones can receive data with relevant information through SMS and recorded messages to give the mothers the information they need. In crisis situations the expectant mother can get a live person to talk in their native language and guide them through their emergency.
MAMA is collaborating with many different organizations to implement this model in many countries around the world. One of their goals is to achieve the Millennium Development Goals with the UN which is designed to help developing countries meet basic standard of living conditions including health, education, peace, human rights and technology advancements. MAMA was created with the help of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Johnson & Johnson, along with these partners BabyCenter, mHealth Alliance and the United Nations Foundation.
The goal is to eventually have MAMA available wherever it is needed but currently it is operating in Bangladesh, India and South Africa. These countries were chosen because they have elevated maternal and infant mortality rates as well as high mobile penetration. MAMA is providing this service with local entities including NGOs Non Governmental Organizations, local governments and mobile phone operators.
What we take for granted here is an asset that can save lives in other parts of the world. Whether you are a small startup an individual or a large organization you can use technology to provide information to communities around the world that need it desperately.