Grameenphone (GP) has joined an innovative new coalition to improve mother- infant health through a voice- and text messaging service. The service aims to reach 2 million pregnant women and new mothers by 2015.
Continuing Grameenphone’s tradition of supporting mother and infant health, GP’s CEO Tore Johnsen has signed an agreement with the organization D.Net to join the partnership “Mobiles for Health” (M4H).
M4H is an innovative coalition to use mobile phones to deliver life-saving health information to expectant and new mothers in Bangladesh via voice and SMS. On joining the initiative, CEO Tore Johnsen said:
“Grameenphone, being a responsible corporate citizen of the country, has continually contributed to the health sector through different initiatives. We have particularly focused on making health services available to the economically disadvantaged community. Mobiles4Health is another such initiative from us”.
SMS and audio service with tailored information
The M4H initiative is currently in its design and test phase to build a platform to provide both audio and text messages with vital information on antenatal, neonatal, and infant health. The messages will be linked to the women’s delivery dates, giving them critical information at the right stage in their pregnancy and early motherhood.
Mobile health messages are able to quickly and easily disseminate information that will inform women of ways to care for themselves during pregnancy, dispel myths and misconceptions, highlight warning signs, connect women with local health services, reinforce breast feeding practices, explain the benefits of family planning, and make new mothers aware of how best to care for their babies.
The objectives are to achieve sustained improvements in health knowledge, behaviors, and outcomes. The service aims to reach 500,000 pregnant women and new mothers within three years.
Increasing health awareness
While Bangladesh has made significant progress in both maternal and infant deaths in recent years, neonatal mortality still makes up 57 per cent of under-5 deaths in Bangladesh and the maternal mortality rate is still among the highest in Asia. Research shows a critical factor for progress in health outcomes is to increase awareness of health behaviours – such as hygiene awareness, awareness of signs of infant illness and seeking care.
“This initiative is an excellent example of how we can use our core expertise to deliver value to society. mHealth is a key element in ourÂ Group-wide strategy for corporate responsibility and we support the development of this area across the Telenor Group. Globally, we see a lot of focus on mHealth services – this is a great example of how public-private partnerships can contribute to achieving Bangladeshi health goals,” said Mai Oldgard, Vice President and Head of Group CR.