India has the greatest global burden of maternal, newborn and child deaths, accounting for approximately:
17% of global maternal mortality
25% of global child mortality
27% of global newborn mortality
The majority of these deaths are from preventable causes.
At the same time, mobile phones are ubiquitous in India. For every 100 people in India, only 60 have access to a toilet or latrine but 70 have a mobile phone subscription. MAMA’s work in Mumbai’s slums is driven by increasing mobile penetration and persistent, but often preventable, high maternal and infant mortality.
MAMA’s Mumbai slum program, officially launched November 13, 2014, is called mMitra (mitra means friend in Hindi). mMitra sends pregnant women and new mothers two weekly voice messages directly to her mobile phone in her chosen language and at her preferred time. Content corresponds to where she is in her pregnancy or the developmental stage of her child, and continue through the baby’s first year of life.
The content is free, and contains culturally appropriate information on preventive care and simple health interventions to reduce maternal and infant mortality and morbidity based on the unique needs in urban India. The voice messages were developed by BabyCenter and validated by experts from the Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecological Society of India (FOGSI). The messages are available in Hindi and Marathi have been tested with women in the community.
Enrollment for mMitra in the slums of Mumbai is completed directly through community outreach partners and in the government hospitals and health posts where mMitra is being offered as a part of their antenatal care. mMitra seeks to improve interaction between women and the health care system and increase demand for skilled birth assistance and other obstetric and neonatal interventions. Building on successful programs in Bangladesh and South Africa, MAMA hopes to take the program to scale across India.
mMitra receives funding from Johnson & Johnson Corporate Contributions and content expertise from BabyCenter. Other program partners include strategic philanthropy organization Dasra, a number of community-based NGOs and municipal hospitals.
Mumbai-based NGO ARMMAN MAMA’s main implementing partner for mMitra. Founded in 2008 by Dr. Aparna Hedge, ARMMAN designs and implements sustainable interventions to reduce maternal, newborn and infant mortality in underprivileged urban and rural communities in India.