By Rachel Sorensen
MAMA (the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action) uses mobile phones to deliver relevant health information directly to new and expectant mothers, so they have the knowledge they need to take charge of their health and the health of their children.
In 2014, MAMA and local implementing partner ARMMAN launched the mMitra program in India, a country which has the highest burden of maternal, child, and newborn deaths in the world.
In many areas across India, women do not live or work near health professionals or facilities that can address questions or concerns about their pregnancies. MAMA provides vital health information directly to these women on issues ranging from nutrition to breastfeeding to antenatal care.
Here is a look at some of the women who make up mMitra.
Bina Tara Pasha Nevpani
Bina, a 26-year-old mother who lives in the western suburbs of Mumbai, began subscribing to MAMA when she was seven months pregnant. She hopes her baby boy receives a good education and can pursue higher education. Bina has found the calls from mMitra very useful, as her mother and mother-in-law live far away and are difficult to reach on a routine basis. They have also provided information that is new to her on issues from a healthy diet to breastfeeding to hand washing. Ms. Bina has found the calls to be so useful she has begun recommending them to other women in her community
Reshma Raje is a 29-year-old woman living in the fishing community of Versova. Reshma has a 7-month-old baby, who she wants to grow up healthy and safe. She received health information through the mMitra program while she was pregnant and after her baby boy was born. She said the messages reminded her of what to do during a particular stage of her pregnancy and as the baby aged.
Ujjwala Chandrakant Panaskar
MAMA and ARMMAN do extraordinary work because of women like Ujjwala Chandrakant Panaskar. She works as a health volunteer in her community in Pascal wadi. She also registers women to receive mobile health messages through the mMitra program. She wants the children from her community to receive quality education and health services and believes change can start with her. Ujjwala reports that when she visits women using mMitra, it isn’t just the women who benefit. Husbands and families welcome her and are grateful for the valuable information the program provides.