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Celebrate Solutions: Using Cell Phones to Make Breast Milk Safe for Babies

By: Rati Bishnoi, Program Manager, Catapult

The following is a 90-day progress report on PATH’s “Banking breast milk for babies" project, which was fully funded on Catapult earlier this year.

PATH is an international nonprofit organization that works to transforms global health through innovation. By taking an entrepreneurial approach, PATH develops and deliver high-impact, low-cost solutions to people and communities in 70 countries. This summer—through a fundraising campaign on Catapult.org—PATH was able to raise fund $50,000 to support a lifesaving low-cost intervention to save newborn babies using mobile phones and donated breast milk. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Fighting Poverty with Savings & Mobile Technology in Guatemala

By: Elizabeth Gillroy and Arya Iranpour, Trickle Up; Originally posted on Catapult.org

Saving money can be hard for anyone, but it’s especially difficult for the poorest and most vulnerable around the world. The ultrapoor—those who live on $1.25 a day or less—are characterized by insufficient and irregular income, high vulnerability to shocks, chronic food insecurity, and poor health. For most people living in these conditions, there are no insurance programs to fall back on in the event of an emergency. If disaster strikes, families are often forced to sell what few assets they have and take out the only loans they have access to those with very high interest rates. All of which leads them further into poverty. How can anyone save money in a situation like this? Read more...

 

Celebrate Solutions: Improving Literacy and Driving Change Through SMS Text Messaging

By: Rati Bishnoi, Catapult.org

Using cell phones and text-message based literacy and numeracy training is helping Senegalese girls and women dramatically improve their ability to communicate with each other and their communities, according to an evaluation of a pilot program by Dakar, Senegal-based NGO Tostan. Tostan’s “Community Empowerment Program” is an award-winning, three-year nonformal education program that provides community wide trainings to help villagers lead social change projects within their communities. As part of the CEP program, Tostan offers a 150-hour cellphone literacy course--called Mobile Phone for Literacy and Empowerment--in which participants in 20 villages received 16 lessons on how to use cell phones, build literacy and numeracy skills, and use text messaging as a means to practice and learn. Read more...

MAMA Named an Innovation By Design Award Finalist by Fast Company

By: Kirsten Gagnaire, Global Director of the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA)

Mobile phones are taking center stage everywhere. Moms always have been. So what do you get when you connect moms with mobile phones? The potential for instantaneous positive change for moms, for families, and for the global fight to stop millions of women and children from dying every year, simply because they have no access to basic health care or information. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Mobile Technology as Innovative Communication Channel for Reproductive Health

By: Eunice Namirembe and Bas Hoefman, Text to Change is a winner of the Women Deliver 50.

According to the Guttmacher Institute/IPPF publication Facts on the Sexual and Reproductive Health of Adolescent Women in the Developing World, it is estimated that in Sub-Saharan Africa, 67% of married adolescent women who want to avoid pregnancy are not using any method and about 12% are using traditional methods of family planning. They further state that 42% of unmarried, sexually active women are using no family planning method at all. This could be due to the fact that access to knowledge about contraceptive methods is a major barrier for young people in Africa. An added challenge is overcoming the common myths and misconceptions about contraception. Often, young people are reluctant to seek information or clarification about contraception from a clinic setting because of concerns around privacy and confidentiality, cost of services, and provider biases. Convenience of clinic locations and hours of operation is another challenge for many young people.  Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Mobile Technology Joins the Fight Against Fistula

By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

mpesa.jpgFor the estimated 3,700 Tanzanian women who experience obstetric fistula each year, a daunting landscape of stigma and shame looms before them.  Many are exiled from their families and communities, and are unable to work.  Only about 1,000 of them will receive treatment.  The rest are either unaware that treatment exists or can’t afford to access it. 

This issue led Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania (CCBRT), the country’s largest provider of fistula repair surgery, to take action.  CCBRT already provides services free of charge, yet the barrier of transportation costs remained.  In response, in 2009 they began using Vodaphone’s mobile banking system M-PESA—M for “mobile” and PESA for “money” in Swahili—to reduce the burden of transportation expenses. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Solar Energy for Safer Births

By: Rati Bishnoi, Women Deliver

Saving the lives of mothers and babies depends on having more than the right health care and interventions. The best facilities, caregivers, and interventions won’t improve maternal and neonatal health care delivery if basic needs for power, water, and sanitation aren’t available. Read more...

Corporate Buzz: Telecom Provider Honored for Maternal Health Mobile Innovation

By: Smita Gaith, Women Deliver

etisalat_phone.jpgTelecom provider Etisalat was recently honored at the GSM (Groupe Spéciale Mobile)Association Awards, for its new maternal health product. The company has received the awards for “Best Mobile Health Innovation” and “mWomen Best Mobile Product” for its innovative service program called “Etisalat Mobile Baby.”

Nearly all maternal mortality cases occur in developing countries, with 1 in 31 deaths occurring in sub-Saharan Africa. Many of these deaths can be prevented by ensuring greater access to information for health workers, more timely arrival at health facilities, and increased ability to recognize problems during pregnancy. Read more...

Corporate Buzz: One of the People-People

By: Kate Otto, Public Health Consultant
Originally posted by: Huffington Post Impact

mHealth.jpg"Oh you're one of the international people," a young nurse from Washington, D.C. said to me at last week's mHealth Summit, an annual gathering that attracted 3,600 participants this year (up from 300 attendees in 2009), united in their desire to use of mobile phones to improve health care quality and access.

This woman was acknowledging my poster presentation -- a study on how text message alerts could improve maternal health in rural Ethiopia -- but her comment was delivered with such exasperation that I had to request she clarify her point. What did it mean that I was one of the "international people"? Read more... 

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. Read more...

New Partnership Launched: Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA)

This morning Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced a new public-private partnership that aims to improve maternal health outcomes by harnessing the power of mobile phone technology. Called the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA), this $10 million partnership between USAID, Johnson & Johnson, the UN Foundation, mHealth Alliance, and BabyCenter LLC will work to help new and expecting mothers in the developing world gain access to vital health information. Read more...

Fast Company Magazine Names Voxiva One of “The World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies”

Fast Company's annual Most Innovative Companies issue today named Voxiva the 40th most innovative company in the world for “encouraging good health via mobile apps,” bolstering Voxiva’s leadership position in the mobile health field. Voxiva was also 3rd on their list of the Top 10 innovators in the Mobile Industry. Women Deliver congratulates Voxiva on this great news, and agrees with Fast Company editor Robert Safian when he says that, "Innovation has never been more important to our economy and our future." Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: The Midwives Services Scheme, Nigeria

By: Madeline Taskier, Partnership Coordinator at Women Deliver  

nigerian_mother.jpgBordered by Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and the Gulf of Guinea, the West African country of Nigeria is the eighth most populous country in the world with a soaring maternal mortality rate.  As of 2008, the average maternal mortality rate was 840 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births and up to 1,549 deaths per 100,000 live births in rural areas. These statistics gave the Nigerian government a stern wakeup call: too many women were dying during pregnancy and childbirth with a weak healthcare workforce to support them. In 2009, the Nigerian National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHDA) took action to expand women’s access to skilled health care workers in rural and suburban regions with the Midwives Services Scheme (MSS). Read more...

Giving Life, Saving Lives

By: Randy Hecht; originally posted on Healthymagination

In the United States, 24 in 100,000 women die in childbirth. But in developing countries, the number skyrockets: 1200 in 100,000 women in both Chad and Somalia; 1400 in 100,000 women in Afghanistan. Most of these deaths are preventable. Most of these mothers can be saved. Read more...

Maternal Health at the mHealth Summit

By: Madeline Taskier, Partnership Coordinator and Bhuvana Bhagat, Senior Program Officer at Women Deliver

Over 2,700 tech gurus, government officials, non-profit organizations, researchers and private sector companies attended the mHealth Summit last week in DC at the Washington Convention Center. Hosted by the mHealth Alliance of the UN Foundation, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Foundation for the NIH, the summit brought together participants across sectors to discuss progress made in mobile health so far and what the future holds. Read more...

mHealth Solutions to Improve Maternal Health

By: Madeline Taskier, Partnership Coordinator at Women Deliver

In developing countries there are currently 5 billion mobile phone subscriptions, nearly three times the amount in developed countries. Given the prevalence of mobile phone use and the overwhelming predominance (99%) of maternal deaths occurring in the developing world, what kind of potential does mHealth technology have to change the state of maternal health? According to the presenters at the Maternal Health Task Force Policy Series event on mHealth, the impact of mobile phone technology is far reaching, replicable, and cost-effective.

Celebrate Solutions: Increasing Women’s Access to Mobile Technology Worldwide

By: Mariko Rasmussen, Program Assistant at Women Deliver Bolivia_Cell_Phone_Mom.jpg

Imagine a woman home alone and going into premature childbirth. She feels helpless and scared, and begins to bleed. Now imagine this woman has a mobile phone. She feels connected and more secure, knowing help is a text or phone call away. And if she had had access to a phone during her pregnancy, prenatal text messages could have prepared her for such an emergency. It is no surprise that increasing the use of mobile phones among women is a key strategy to reducing maternal and newborn mortality, and one of the five technologies that Women Deliver is championing to reach MDG5. Read more...

Maternal Health and Mobile Technology: New Tools for an Important Fight

josh-nesbit.jpgBy: Josh Nesbit, co-founder and executive director of FrontlineSMS:Medic

The magnitude of certain problems is fully evident and inexcusable. Each year, 350,000 women and girls die every year from pregnancy-related causes, and over 100 million lack access to family planning. My generation has had access to these staggering statistics for years. As global citizens, we must now choose to act.

I was honored to join heads of UN agencies and government officials, as well as corporate and nonprofit leaders at last week’s Women Deliver event, “Accelerating Action on the MDGs: Delivering for Women, Girls, and Babies.” The theme threading the event’s discussions was clear - low-hanging impact exists, and if we want to increase access to proven interventions, we need to get creative. Read more...

 

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