MAMA: An mHealth Initiative

mHealth, an abbreviation of mobile health, is a broad term generally used to describe health programs and initiatives operating primarily through mobile devices.  Mobile device use is on the rise, and it is now estimated that up to 85% of the world’s population is covered under some mobile subscription. In rural areas with limited access to physical clinics, doctors, and resources this type of program can have far-reaching benefits. Because of the nature of mobile devices, applications, etc. mHealth initiatives are able to cover a wide range of health topics including general health information, diagnosis, and disease tracking.

To me, mHealth has a huge potential for use in developing nations. While researching the topic, I came across MAMA (Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action). This program operates mainly through SMS messages and simple voice reminders.  MAMA currently operates in 69 countries and reaches nearly 141 million women. Their messages are based on WHO and UNICEF guidelines and provide information about what to expect from their babies at certain ages and reminders to get checkups or vaccines. To learn more about MAMA, check out their website below.

This is just one of many examples of mHealth initiatives focusing on developing nations. Of course maternal health has always been a focus, but what other ares do you think mHealth could have a major impact in? Do you see any challenges for these initiatives in the future? I think they are a wonderful example of just how much potential technology has in developing nations.

3 responses to “MAMA: An mHealth Initiative

  • claredtuck

    I think the mHealth initiative could reach far beyond maternal health, and be implemented in classrooms in developing nations to form ‘health’ components to education for both children and adults- the importance of sanitation and basic health information could be highly beneficial in urban slum areas as well as rural communities, where knowledge about how disease is spread and how it can be prevented is not widely disseminated or understood.

  • bridgetslattery

    I know that we have talked about many different types of this same program in class. I think that the model of sending health texts can be very beneficial but I am always curious about the actual impact of these kind of programs. If mothers need to sign up for these texts and then pay for them along with their cell phone bill I wonder if the information is really reaching the people who need it the most. The language and readability aspect is also interesting. Are the texts written in a language that is the native tongue of the people in these remote locations and if it is are the texts written at a comprehension level that they can understand.

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