To Achieve Child Health MDG, Use Technology To Better Educate Mothers

“The more educated a mother, the less likely her child is to die,” Leith Greenslade, co-chair of child health at the MDG Health Alliance, writes in a post in the Huffington Post’s “Global Motherhood” blog, published as part of “One Story, One World,” a month-long series in partnership with Johnson & Johnson “to highlight the successes and remaining opportunities in the Every Woman Every Child movement.” She states, “This is one of the most powerful relationships in global health and development — a mother’s level of education and her child’s chance of survival,” adding, “This is why educating adolescent girls and young women is one of the most important ways to reach Millennium Development Goal 4 (MDG4) — the global child survival goal that will only be achieved when we reduce the number of children under five dying each year from seven million to four million.”

“At the moment, the world is seriously off track to meet that goal by the deadline — December 31, 2015,” Greenslade continues, adding, “It will take a massive outreach effort to educate girls and mothers in these countries, but if we can do that, up to two million deaths could be prevented, taking us one big step closer to MDG4.” She writes, “Technology is on our side, and on the side of all uneducated girls and women,” noting the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA) last week “released a set of free text and voice messages that can be sent directly to a mother’s cell phone anywhere, offering her advice on child nutrition and how to prevent and treat pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria — to name just a few of the messages.” She adds, “If all of the organizations engaged in child survival routinely communicated directly with the most vulnerable mothers and families during pregnancy and in the critical weeks after with messages like these, millions of families could be reached quickly and at low cost, and children’s deaths would be prevented,” concluding, “We need a massive outreach effort to get it to mothers on phones, tablets, televisions, radios and any other channels of communication that reach directly into homes” (9/4).

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