MAMA Announces New Advisory Board and Governance Structure to Drive Greater Impact for Maternal Newborn Child Health in Countdown to the MDGs

Having surpassed targets set for its initial three-year, $10 million commitment, Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA) is pleased to announce that it will continue beyond that original commitment. Going forward, MAMA will be governed by an Advisory Board comprised of leaders from multiple sectors in order to drive scale, impact and sustainability to improve maternal, newborn and child health worldwide.

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'In its fourth year, MAMA will continue to expand the frontiers of mobile innovation to transform women’s lives.' -- Kathy Calvin, President & CEO UN Foundation

Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) June 29, 2014

The Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA), having surpassed targets set for its initial three-year, $10 million commitment, is pleased to announce that it will continue beyond that original commitment. Going forward, MAMA will introduce a new governance structure, anchored by an Advisory Board comprised of leaders from multiple sectors. The new structure will further support MAMA’s ability to drive scale, impact and sustainability to improve maternal, newborn and child health worldwide.

Nearly 800 women die of childbirth or pregnancy-related complications every day and 3.1 million newborn deaths occur every year, yet there are now at least 1 billion women in low- and middle-income countries who own mobile phones. Originally envisioned as a three-year initiative to leverage the proliferation of mobile phones to deliver health information to those who need it most, MAMA now reaches more than 1.3 million women and families with age and stage-based messages to assist them through their pregnancies and the first three years of their child’s development.

“The vision, leadership and support of our founding partners, combined with the hard work of our implementing partners on the ground and high market demand, are propelling MAMA’s growth,” said Kirsten Gagnaire, Executive Director of MAMA. “I am looking forward to working with our distinguished Advisory Board members to empower more mothers by helping them access the information they need to make the best health decisions for themselves and their families.”

Launched on Mother’s Day 2011 by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, MAMA began as a public-private partnership between USAID, Johnson & Johnson, United Nations Foundation, mHealth Alliance and BabyCenter. Since its founding, MAMA’s age and stage-based messages have been translated into 21 languages and are being used by more than 300 organization in over 70 countries. MAMA directly assists programs in Bangladesh, South Africa and India.

The Bangladesh program, known locally as Aponjon, is now reaching more than 500,000 subscribers across all 65 districts in the country, and employs a model that can be sustained over time with creative revenue generation and a diminishing reliance on philanthropic funding. Formative research from this flagship program also shows MAMA is achieving positive health impacts for moms and babies. For example, among Aponjon users, higher percentages exclusively breastfeed their babies and attended at least four antenatal checks, compared to the national average, behaviors that are critical to both maternal and newborn health.

In South Africa, MAMA SA leverages four different technology channels and has built a consortium of organizations with technical and content expertise, access to clinical services, and proficiency in research. Since launch in May 2013, MAMA SA has successfully engaged more than 350,000 women and their families. More information can be found in this new report, Reimagining Mobile in South Africa: Lessons from Year One.

“In its fourth year, MAMA will continue to expand the frontiers of mobile innovation to transform women’s lives and the United Nations Foundation is honored to act as Secretariat for this dynamic initiative,” said Kathy Calvin, President & CEO of United Nations Foundation. “We look forward to welcoming new partners to the table who are as committed as we are to advancing women’s and children’s health worldwide.”

MAMA will now be governed by an Advisory Board comprised of international experts from the corporate, non-profit and government sectors, who bring with them a broad expertise from across the mHealth ecosystem including technology, mobile operations, program implementation and funding. This will allow MAMA to take a more strategic approach to its work. They include:

Kate Dodson, Vice President, Global Health, United Nations Foundation;
Alice Lin Fabiano, Director, Worldwide Corporate Contributions, Johnson & Johnson;
Colleen Hancock, Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, BabyCenter;
Alain Labrique, Director, Johns Hopkins University Global mHealth Initiative;
Patricia Mechael, Executive Director, mHealth Alliance;
BethAnne Moskov, Deputy Director, Office of Health, Infectious Disease and Nutrition, USAID;
Gustav Praekelt, Founder, Praekelt Foundation;
Ananya Raihan, Executive Director, Dnet.
Kechi Ogbuagu, Senior Technical Advisor, UNFPA

About MAMA: Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA) delivers vital health information via mobile phones to new and expectant mothers living in poverty throughout the developing world. Hosted by the United Nations Foundation, MAMA provides age and stage-based messages aligned with global best practices, empowering women to make the best decisions for themselves and their families. With an intentional focus on countries where high maternal and newborn mortality rates intersect with an increasing proliferation of mobile phones, MAMA directly assists programs in Bangladesh, South Africa and India. Additionally, MAMA supports a growing community of more than 300 organizations in over 70 countries who utilize its tools and information. By bringing together leaders from a cross section of industries MAMA harnesses the strengths and assets from the corporate, non-profit and government sectors. MAMA was launched in 2011 by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as a public private partnership between USAID, Johnson & Johnson, United Nations Foundation, mHealthAlliance and BabyCenter.


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