Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA) selected as finalist for Fast Company 2012 Innovation By Design Award

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Mobile phones bring life-saving health information to millions of new and expectant moms in developing countries

A family receives MAMA messages in Bangladesh

MAMA harnesses the power of mobile phones to deliver critical health information directly into the hands of the hardest-to-reach moms, enabling mothers and babies everywhere to survive and thrive.

The Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA) has been named an Innovation By Design Award finalist by Fast Company. The competition generated more than 1,700 entries from Ford to Facebook, NASA to Nike; winners will be announced on October 16, 2012. Submissions were vetted by 27 prominent judges, from MoMA senior curator Paola Antonelli to Coca-Cola vice-president of innovation David Butler. According to Fast Company, the finalists represent “the year’s most inspiring, ingenious, and innovative design solutions.”

Nominated in the "service design" category, MAMA is highlighted for its progress made in its first year, providing vital and culturally sensitive health information to new and expectant mothers in 35 countries from Afghanistan to Zambia with a projected reach of over 20 million moms, via its free mobile phone adaptable messaging service and its country programs. MAMA Bangladesh will launch nationally next month, after successful use of mobile messaging in four regions. Country programs in South Africa and India are also underway.

MAMA was launched Mother’s Day 2011 by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to address the 287,000 maternal deaths and 3.1 million newborn deaths that occur each year, and is a partnership between the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Johnson & Johnson, the United Nations Foundation, BabyCenter, and the mHealth Alliance, which also serves as the partnership secretariat.

"This continues to be an extraordinary year for MAMA, and we are thrilled to be nominated for a Fast Company Innovation by Design Award," said Kirsten Gagnaire, MAMA Global Director. “MAMA harnesses the power of mobile phones to deliver critical health information directly into the hands of the hardest-to-reach moms, enabling mothers and babies everywhere to survive and thrive.”

MAMA subscribers register for the mobile phone service by indicating the expected due date, or the birthday of their recently born child, and receive weekly health messages and reminders during the pregnancy and up to the infant’s first birthday. Timed messages include tips on everything from proper nutrition, newborn care, breastfeeding, immunizations, and connections to local health resources.

While maternal death rates have been reduced by roughly 47 percent since 1990, every day there are still nearly 800 women that do not survive childbirth or pregnancy. And newborn deaths remain staggeringly high, constituting nearly half of all under-five child deaths (40 percent). Nearly all these deaths – 99 percent – occur in the developing world. Most of these deaths are preventable with basic knowledge and care, still beyond the reach of millions of impoverished moms.

"We are proud of our partnership and this special recognition from Fast Company," said Patty Mechael, executive director of the mHealth Alliance. "More than one billion women in low- and middle-income countries own mobile phones. By combining available technology and credible health information, the world has the knowledge and opportunity to help prevent millions of deaths and improve quality of life for moms and babies."

For more information about MAMA, its free adaptable mobile messages, and how to join the partnership, visit its website at

To see more about Fast Company awards and finalists, go to

Tweet Me: MAMA is a Fast Company award finalist for delivering health to moms via mobile phones #mHealth #FastCoDesign


The Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA) engages an innovative global community to deliver vital health information to new and expectant mothers through mobile phones. MAMA is making a three-year, $10 million 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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Dayle Kern

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