We can’t imagine life without our cell phones to get through the day, but being connected through technology is more than just making sure we make our appointments on time, or text the kids. As we learned at this year’s Social Good Summit, mobile technology is helping improve health for mothers and children across the world.
In her presentation Innovating Mobile Health for Present and Future Generations, Sarah Ingersoll, Director of Text4Baby, explained that the U.S. has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the industrialized world. Many pregnant women and new moms don’t get the care they need during their pregnancy, nor do their babies get the medical care they should. Ingersoll highlighted the opportunity to reach out and use mobile technology for the benefit of these women and children. Why?
- 89% of young women have cell phones
- 99% of text messages are read
- 90% of text messages are read within three minutes
Text4Baby provides three free text messages per week to pregnant women and new moms from pregnancy until their baby is one year old. These text messages include helpful information through videos or mobile web links, and are available in English and Spanish. This is now the largest free mobile health service in the United States, and it has reached over 640,000 individuals since its launch three years ago. Users report that they feel three times more prepared to be mothers.
Keeping Women and Children Safe
Information delivered to women in ways that make sense for their lives can have other equally essential applications. According to a UN Women study, 99.3 percent of women surveyed in Egypt have experienced harassment or assault, yet the mobile phone reach is around 100 percent. Using an online and mobile phone-based reporting system, volunteer-based initiative Harassmap gives women and children in Egypt a voice to break the silence and report what’s going on, helping to mobilize bystanders to assist when needed. This creates an environment that doesn’t tolerate harassment and changes societal patterns.
Take Action Challenge
If you or someone you know is expecting a baby, sign up or direct them here to receive health information via text messages from Text4Baby. What other life-saving applications have you seen technology provide to you and your community?
Watch sessions from the Social Good Summit online and share them with your community networks. Get the word out that technology saves lives!