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Mobile Technology A ‘Key Tool’ To Combat Maternal Mortality, Achieve MDGs

“While the time-saving benefits of smartphones are often cited, we rarely think about the life-saving benefits. But for women in developing nations, access to a smartphone can make the difference between life and death during childbirth,” Randi Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media, writes in the Huffington Post’s “Global Motherhood” blog. “What if each of the one billion women living in low-and middle-income countries who own a cell phone could use those devices in the same way that many western moms do — to seek quick access to care or health information?” she asks, and writes, “We don’t just have to imagine the possibilities; action is already being taken in every corner of the world.”

“Doctors in rural hospitals are using apps that provide information about common birth complications that could help save a mother (and baby’s) life. And with Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action, a program that sends text messages to low-income women around the world about staying healthy during and after pregnancy, new and expectant moms can learn about safe breastfeeding practices, what vaccines children need and how to get them, proper medicine regimens, how to diagnose common diseases and more,” Zuckerberg notes, adding, “Another mobile health (mHealth) program called MoTeCH helps local health workers keep track of pregnant patients’ data by entering it into their phones.” She writes, “Mobile technology for moms is a key tool being used in efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” and she highlights the GBCHealth Conference, taking place in New York this week, noting the event “brings together businesses and allied leaders to deepen engagement on the world’s most pressing issues, including maternal and newborn health” (5/15).