MAMA Bangladesh Launches National Mobile Health Service 'Aponjon' to Reach 2 Million Moms by 2015

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Today, the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA) announced the national launch of 'Aponjon', a mobile health (mHealth) service delivering critical stage-based information with plans to reach two million people, including pregnant women, new mothers and their families, by 2015. The launch was held at the Osmani Memorial Hall in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where many public and private sector partners and supporters celebrated the expansion of the service.

Today, the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA) announced the national launch of 'Aponjon', a mobile health (mHealth) service delivering critical stage-based information with plans to reach two million people, including pregnant women, new mothers and their families, by 2015. The launch was held at the Osmani Memorial Hall in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where many public and private sector partners and supporters celebrated the expansion of the service.

Aponjon, which means “the trusted one” has over 12,000 mothers, family members, and organizations across the country registered for the service. Many of them registered during the pilot phase through the more than 750 community health workers trained by D.Net, the social enterprise at the heart of MAMA Bangladesh.

“MAMA’s work in Bangladesh continues to show the power of mobile technology to improve the health of vulnerable communities across the country. Families rely on Aponjon to get direct information in their language, right in the palm of their hands,” said Kirsten Gagnaire, MAMA Global Director. “MAMA Bangladesh has been recognized for its unique national scale model which informs the global health community's knowledge of how to use mobile technology to improve the lives of pregnant women, new mothers and their families.”

MAMA has helped catalyze the global community around the world to support the scale-up of mobile messaging services for maternal and child health.

Every day around the world, more than 800 women do not survive childbirth or pregnancy and 3.1 million newborn deaths occur every year. To address this reality, and help make additional progress on global United Nations Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 by 2015, MAMA was launched on Mother’s Day 2011 by United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as an innovative public-private partnership between USAID, Johnson & Johnson, the United Nations Foundation, mHealth Alliance, and BabyCenter. An initial investment of $10 million was made to create and strengthen programs in Bangladesh, India and South Africa.

“By cultivating diverse global and regional partnerships, MAMA Bangladesh has been able to scale and operate an innovative business model and provides multiple modes of message delivery to mothers and their families,” said Dr. Ananya Raihan, Chief Technical Officer of MAMA Bangladesh and Executive Director of D.Net, “We will continue to engage communities to build greater momentum around our work."

Referring to the partnerships DNet has established with the Bangladesh Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, BRAC and Smiling Sun Franchise Program, and the hundreds of health workers who help to spread the word, Dr. Raihan added: "This is an innovative and pragmatic approach, which shows that a mobile phone based initiative may also need connection through a human network.”

Through MAMA Bangladesh, mothers and their families receive culturally sensitive, stage-based voice messages during pregnancy and through the baby’s first year of life. A majority of MAMA Bangladesh subscribers are receiving the information as entertaining mini-dramas delivered as voice messages. The voice service was created to reach individuals with low levels of literacy.

The MAMA Bangladesh Advisory Board is led by the Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Dr. A.F.M. Ruhal Haque, who congratulated the effort during the launch. The Bangladesh government has rallied around the Aponjon service, and the launch event was attended by representatives of the private sector and numerous dignitaries including State Minister Dr. M. Mujibar Rahman Fakir, Senior Secretary for Health & Family Welfare, Government of Bangladesh and event chair, Mr. Mohammad Humayun Kabir.

USAID has been one of the leading supporters of the work of MAMA Bangladesh.

“I applaud MAMA’s work to harness the power of mobile technology to improve the health of vulnerable populations living in poverty,” noted USAID Bangladesh Mission Director, Richard Greene. “We are committed to supporting public-private partnerships like MAMA and its Bangladesh service brand, 'Aponjon', to empower communities and improve maternal and child health.”
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For more information about MAMA and its global toolkit, please visit http://www.mobilemamaalliance.org. To get new updates on MAMA Bangladesh visit:
http://www.aponjon.com.bd and follow us on Twitter: @MAMAglobal

About MAMA
MAMA engages an innovative global community to deliver vital health information to new and expectant mothers through mobile phones. MAMA has made a multi-million dollar investment to create and strengthen programs in three countries – Bangladesh, India and South Africa – and to enhance global capability of new and existing mobile health information programs for moms in those countries and beyond.

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Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action, MAMAMobile Alliance for Maternal Action, MAMA