An innovative public-private partnership, the Mobile Alliance for Material Action (MAMA) program works to engage a global community to deliver vital health information to new and expectant mothers and their families through the use of mobile technology.
The team recently published a case study exploring the programmatic processes, successes and lessons learned by the MAMA program in Bangladesh, known locally as Aponjon, meaning “the dear one” in Bangla.
Bangladesh has made large strides with regards to improving maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) outcomes, but in order to continue to progress in these areas and achieve the Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5, it is essential that Bangladesh leverage existing and new methods and tools to reach the women and families that need them the most. Of every 100 people in Bangladesh, just 55 have access to sanitation facilities, but 64 have mobile subscriptions. This suggests that Bangladesh could both benefit from and support a mobile health program for MNCH.
In order to fully harness the potential of mobile technology to achieve scale, sustainability and impact, the Aponjon team tackles challenges related to female literacy and phone ownership, and diverse preferences from urban and rural populations. The Aponjon team has developed a highly complex technical platform, conducted robust formative research, and developed a strategic business plan for long term sustainability.
After a year of pilot testing, Aponjon was launched nationally in December 2012 by Bangladeshi social enterprise Dnet, in partnership with the Government of Bangladesh Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW). Dnet has brokered partnerships with five mobile network operators, three large corporate partners and six outreach partners with community agents (CAs) in all 64 districts in Bangladesh. As of mid May 2014, Aponjon was reaching more than 500,000 mothers and families.