In Bangladesh, Mobile Maternity Platform Hits 500,000 Users


In Bangladesh, the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA) announces that its maternal health mobile platform has already hit the 500,000 user milestone, after launching in the country just 18 months ago. The MAMA platform sends text messages and voicemails containing critical information on pregnancy, labor, and newborn care. In Bangladesh, a country where three out of four women still deliver their babies at home, more than 5,000 women died in labor last year, mostly due to avoidable complications. MAMA hopes to drive these numbers down by teaching best practices through its platform.

“We have long known how to keep a pregnant woman healthy so she can deliver and raise a healthy, happy baby. With the spread of mobile phone technology, even to the poorest communities, we now have the ability to get that information directly into the hands of the women who need it most.” – Kirsten Gagnaire, Executive Director of MAMA.

In Bangladesh, 80 percent of households have a cell phone, but fewer have regular access to medical care. With higher than average maternal, newborn, and child mortality rates, but widespread access to mobile phones, Bangladesh is an ideal location for MAMA to roll out its platform. MAMA is capitalizing on the stable and growing mobile communications infrastructure by developing a powerful mobile health ecosystem. Currently, the platform supports text and voice messages. Periodically, users will receive voice messages in which actors play out entertaining, and all to common, conversations between a pregnant woman, her well intentioned mother-in-law, and a community doctor who steps in to explain the best practices of newborn care.

MAMA is working to expand its platform to support a number of additional regional dialects. It is also working on building a subscription-based app for higher-income markets that it hopes will generate enough revenue to subsidize the basic service for women in lower income communities. Currently, Johnson and Johnson subsidizes the subscription costs for a majority of low income users. MAMA was founded as a joint partnership between USAID, Johnson and Johnson, the mHealth Alliance, BabyCenter, and the United Nations Foundation.

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