Entertainment Superstar Jennifer Lopez & sister Lynda now supporting Maternal mHealth Charity

This is one of the reasons my sister Jennifer and I wanted to start our work — to bring telemedicine technology to areas like the one I visited. And it’s a goal we share with one of the programs in our Global Mom Relay — the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA). MAMA is also putting modern technology to great use. They provide text messages that make it possible for mothers in the developing world to receive regular medical advice on their mobile phones. For women like Asha Rani in Bangladesh, following these messages helps her to take care better care of herself and her baby. In essence, it puts the power of health in the palm of her hand.

We’re honored to be co-chairs of the Global Mom Relay to help raise awareness about this, and other innovative ways to help pregnant women and mothers everywhere. We hope you will be inspired by our interview and share it forward to unlock a $5 donation. It may not sound like a huge sum, but $5 provides a mother like Asha with six months of mobile health messages to guide her throughout pregnancy and her baby’s first year.

Each time you share this Global Mom Relay piece on Facebook, Twitter, or Email, or donate $5 or more through clicking on the above graphic, a $5 donation (up to $62,500 per week or $125,000 every two weeks) will be donated by Johnson & Johnson and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Health (MAMA). Join us by sharing it forward and unlock the potential for women and children around the globe. For more information, visitwww.unfoundation.org/globalmomrelay. The United Nations Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, BabyCenter, The Huffington Post, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation created the Global Mom Relay, a first-of-its-kind virtual relay with a goal of improving the lives of women and children around the globe

Lynda Lopez, Emmy Award Winning Journalist, Huffington Post. 10 April 2013

It’s great to see that together with her sister Lynda, Jennifer Lopez (who has created a personal fortune of more than $250 million in the entertainment industry) is now supporting the work of the mHealth Charity Mobile Alliance for Maternal Health (MAMA).

The Mobile Alliance for Maternal Health was developed in collaboration with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the U.S. Department of State and is a public-private partnership launched in May 2011 by founding partners United States Agency for International Development and Johnson & Johnson with supporting partners – the United Nations Foundation, mHealth Alliance and BabyCenter.

With an initial 3 year $10 million investment to create and strengthen programs in Bangladesh, India and South Africa to enhance global capability of new and existing mobile health information programs for moms in those countries and beyond.

My thoughts:

Never underestimate the impact high profile celebrities can make

Back in 2010 the mHealth Summit confirmed Bill Gates to give a keynote talk and interest amongst tech audiences in the event went through the roof and this has not only been maintained but substantially built upon (the event has actually doubled in size since then!) but the celebrity endorsement of Jennifer Lopez is in another league as it will bring much more mainstream media interest in the opportunity for mobiles to make a difference for mothers (the world’s principle carers).

While it’s probably too late for the mHealth Symposium I’m organising next month in Dublin (Ireland) I think December’s mHealth Summit in Washington DC would make for a great industry debut.

I saw clinics that were essentially two-room shacks — one had no electricity that day, one didn’t have its plumbing working — and each was staffed by a doctor who would be gone by about 1 o’clock that afternoon, not to return for several days… …At one, I saw a very sweet looking woman sitting outside, in indigenous dress, waiting there with her two little daughters — worry as well as kindness in her face. I sat down and asked why she was there. Both of her daughters were sick, she told me, the older with a cold, but the little one had a cough that had gotten so bad over the past several days that she feared something might be seriously wrong. It was almost time for the doctor to leave, so she also worried that she had made the trip to the office, and her daughters wouldn’t be seen that day — that she would have to wait until the next time he came back to get an exam. She didn’t have a good idea of what she should do, if she didn’t see the doctor and in the next few days her daughter got seriously ill

Imagine the mHealth opportunity if every rural clinic in the world:

> was run by a local who had a smartphone loaded with high quality animated video content and text book resources that could provide education and advice on things that can be done when a Doctor isn’t there.

> had mobile network access that could be used to connect Patients with remote Doctors for advice at anytime it was needed.

$5 provides a mother like Asha with six months of mobile health messages to guide her throughout pregnancy and her baby’s first year

Looks like this is a reporting mistake/typo (eg. it should presumably read “15 months”).

Although details aren’t available yet I hope that these efforts are being coordinated with other efforts in these regions by telcos (eg. in Bangladesh Grameenphone – the major MNO that is majority owned by Norway’s Telenor – has a Safe Motherhood and Infant Care program being run in partnership with Pathfinder International and USAID) and I really hope the content/timing schedules of the preprogrammed SMS messages and the Patient feedback SMS’s are being shared openly as there are lots of really experienced clinicians (and mums!) from around the world who could help evaluate these and contribute others that the MAMA developers may have missed or not yet thought of.

Related: read about how Turkcell – the dominant MNO in Turkey – has looked to SMS pregnancy guides as a lucrative commercial market opportunity.

Each time you share this Global Mom Relay piece on Facebook, Twitter, or Email, or donate $5 or more through clicking on the above graphic

This is really positive but I’m surprised after the tens of millions that Jennifer raked in from her work with American Idol that there isn’t a mobile money (eg SMS donate) side to all this. Hopefully we’ll see that coming next…

Please show your support: Donate/Join the Global Mom Relay!

Click here to donate $5 or more to MAMA as part of the Global Mom Relay and you will unlock a $5 donation from Johnson & Johnson and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Donate online to the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action

Click here to sign up/subscribe to the MAMA.

Global Mom Relay Moms share it forward

About David Doherty

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