May 3rd, 2011

Mobilizing Mobile Technology to Improve the Health of Moms and Children

From Sharon D’Agostino, Vice President, Worldwide Corporate Contributions and Community Relations, Johnson & Johnson

With just a few days to go before Mother’s Day, it is especially poignant that several colleagues and I spent the morning at the State Department where Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced the launch of the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA). MAMA is a public-private partnership aimed at improving maternal and child health by harnessing the power of mobile technology to deliver vital health information to new and expectant mothers. Johnson & Johnson and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) are co-founders of the partnership while the United Nations Foundation, the mHealth Alliance and BabyCenter are making in-kind contributions. The partnership was developed in collaboration with The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

In his comments, our Chairman and CEO, Bill Weldon, noted that MAMA is an important milestone in the commitment we pledged last September to the UN Millennium Development Goal of reducing mortality in women and children by 2015. It’s a reflection of our company’s long commitment to maternal and newborn health. We hold the strong belief that healthy women and children are the foundation of any thriving community.

But today, millions of women lack basic information on how to have a healthy pregnancy. And the rates for infant mortality across the world depict a gap that can be closed with better access to critical information. Each year, 48 million women give birth without expert help and 2 million give birth completely alone. With mobile phone ownership reaching 1 billion women in low and middle-income countries, there is a tremendous opportunity to reach these women with critical health information via mobile phones.

We recognize the tremendous needs that exist across the globe but as we’ve seen in the initial success of text4baby in the US, there is reason to be optimistic about the role technology can play in meeting the real health challenges that new and expecting mothers face. Over the next three years, MAMA will work across an initial set of three countries, Bangladesh, South Africa and India to develop mobile maternal health solutions.

This partnership will also build a global capacity for maternal health information delivery in a way that only mobile technology can. But I’m particularly proud of the local emphasis of this partnership as we incorporate the knowledge and resources of multiple global organizations but empower local coalitions to customize their approach to meet the needs of their community.

The opportunity for shared knowledge and development of best practices for mobile health education will continue to drive future Johnson & Johnson programs, and will help us all better understand where, and how, we can best support the health and well-being of moms and children. 

Happy Mother’s Day!

For more information on the partnership please visit

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