This piece was originally posted on MCHIP’s Blog.
After a grand launching ceremony in December, “Aponjon” is now providing the first nationwide mobile phone health information service in Bangladesh, with a promise of extensively reaching mothers and children. The service will provide health messages weekly to expecting and new mothers that encourage proper care during pregnancy and after the baby is born. This low-cost service—which is free for the poorest 20% of its subscribers—aims to reduce deaths related to maternal and newborn illnesses.
Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA) is a global public-private health information service created by USAID to help pregnant women, new mothers and their families receive behavior change communication messages via mobile phone. MCHIP has awarded a sub-agreement to Development Research Network (D.Net) to support specific service elements of MAMA in Bangladesh under the brand name "Aponjon."
The launching took place at Osmani Memorial Hall in Dhaka, and was inaugurated by Dr. AFM Ruhal Haque, the country’s Minister of Health and Family Welfare, and Richard Greene, the USAID Mission Director to Bangladesh. Guests included Kirsten Gagnaire, Global Director of MAMA, as well as high-level government officials and global, national and corporate partners.
During the event, the Health Minister personally registered a pregnant mother in front of the audience. She is now receiving the service free of charge as part of Aponjon’s mission to reach the poorest and most remote communities in the country for no cost. The service design not only targets pregnant and new mothers, but also other key decision-makers in families—such as husbands, mothers and mothers-in-laws.
The launch of Aponjon signifies a major step for the global MAMA project, as Bangladesh is the first country to take the mobile health messaging service to the national scale. Following this, MAMA will go national in India and South Africa.
The Aponjon team is excited to be on this journey of changing peoples’ behavior and improving maternal and child health!