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Corporate Buzz: Grants To Accelerate Mobile Technology Centered on Maternal and Newborn Health

Earlier this month at the mHealth Summit in Washington, DC, the Innovation Working Group, part of the UN Secretary General’s Every Woman Every Child Strategy, and the mHealth Alliance announced 8 winners of grants to support mobile health programs. The grants will fund innovative mobile technology projects that have the potential to improve maternal and child health globally.

The projects are based in low-income countries with high maternal and child mortality rates. They aim to improve evaluation design, enhance health information sharing, and increase the capabilities of technologies that help clinical decision-making. Over the two-year grant period, the grantees will build partnerships, scale up their projects to national levels or extend their reach to new communities. The grant program is generously supported by NORAD, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, with technical support from the mHealth Alliance. Grantees include:

Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI): CHAI recognizes that some of the greatest challenges in fighting diseases of poverty are organizational and managerial, not scientific or medical. With grant support, CHAI will design and deploy a centralized computing infrastructure in a number of countries to expedite the sharing of, and follow-up on, laboratory test results and track program data online in real time to manage and monitor the program.

Dimagi, Inc: Dimagi is committed to helping organizations deliver quality health care to urban and rural communities around the world. With grant support, Dimagi will accelerate, scale up, and amplify in ten countries a case management solution for community health care workers that helps manage enrollment, support, and tracking of all of the community health workers’ clients and activities through a mobile phone.

D-Tree International: D-tree International is committed to changing the way healthcare is delivered in developing countries. Grant support will help scale up a mobile phone-based decision support application that helps health workers in Zanzibar, Tanzania, identify and treat children with severe acute malnutrition.

Grameen Foundation: Grameen Foundation's mission is to enable the poor, especially the poorest, to create a world without poverty. With grant support, Grameen Foundation will build on its already successful MoTech project in Ghana to provide critical maternal and child health information to as many poor individuals as possible, using a fee-for-service model in urban areas to subsidize services to the poor in rural areas.

Interactive Research and Development (IRD)-Pakistan: IRD works on global health research and delivery. With grant support, IRD-Pakistan will scale up an existing phone-based vaccine registry, Interactive Alerts, which utilizes radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag stickers on the infant’s government-issued immunization card. The registry utilizes SMS reminders and conditional cash transfers to improve immunization coverage through public-private programs.

Novartis Foundation: Novartis has established multiple health initiatives, including SMS for Life, a project aimed at creating visibility into medicine stock levels at remote health facilities and thus supporting the elimination of medicine stock-outs. With grant support, using a combination of mobile phones, SMS, and electronic mapping technology, SMS for Life will track weekly stock levels of key anti-malarial medicines in health facilities in remote locations in Africa. 

Rwanda Ministry of Health: Rwanda conducts successful health interventions through community health workers. Many community health workers are posted far from health clinic facilities and have limited means of communication. With grant support, the Rwanda Ministry of Health will be able to scale up its mHealth system for community health workers to track pregnant women, as well as better collect and report on Millennium Development Goal indicators at the community level.

Cell-Life: Cell-Life provides innovative technology for the management of HIV, as well as other infectious diseases such as TB, in South Africa. With grant support, Cell-Life will scale up a program conducted in in partnership with Vodacom that uses mobile messaging to support women in the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV program.

Read the original press release here.

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