USAID-Backed Text Messaging Service Improves Maternal Health In Timor-Leste

“In Timor-Leste, a tiny country just north of Australia, progress against maternal deaths has been slow. … USAID has been working with Timor-Leste’s Health Ministry since 2004 to help find solutions to this terrible problem. In 2011, U.S.-based NGO Health Alliance International (HAI) won a USAID Child Survival and Health Grant to try a new approach,” Mary Anne Mercer, senior maternal and child health adviser for HAI, writes in USAID’s “IMPACTblog.” She discusses the resulting SMS text messaging service that connects midwives with expecting or new mothers. “Nearly 600 women have completed their pregnancies and received the special postpartum SMS messages to help them give their babies a healthy start in life,” she says, noting “Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will extend the program in 2015 when USAID’s grant ends” (4/2).