Aneesh Chopra, the Federal Chief Technology Officer and an Associate Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, has launched Text4baby, a mobile health public-private partnership.
Text4baby is a free mobile health service in the United States, designed specifically for pregnant and new moms in order to promote maternal and child health by offering health-related information through SMS text messages.
“We believe the power of partnership and community can make an incredible difference in women’s and children’s lives,” said Judy Meehan, executive director of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition. “Text4baby brings HMHB’s mission to life and with the help of our partners, we believe we can be a strong catalyst for change.”
Women receive three free SMS text messages each week timed to their due date or baby’s date of birth by typing BABY and sending it to 511411 (or BEBE for Spanish). The messages so received by the women deals with diverse topics considered important for maternal and child health. The topics include: birth defects prevention, immunization, nutrition, seasonal flu, mental health, oral health and safe sleep. The Text4baby service also connects women to prenatal and infant care services and other resources.
“Text4baby is the first free mobile health service to be taken to scale in the United States,” said U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra. “We know that mobile phones hold tremendous potential to inform and empower individuals,” said Chopra. “Text4baby represents an extraordinary opportunity to expand the way we use our phones, to demonstrate the potential of mobile health technology, and make a real difference for moms and babies across the country.”
The founding partners of Text4baby consists of : National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition, Voxiva, CTIA - The Wireless Foundation (News - Alert), grey healthcare group and founding corporate sponsor Johnson & Johnson. Premier sponsors include WellPoint, Pfizer and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield and wireless carriers. U.S. government partners include the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Defense Military Health System. Implementation partners include BabyCenter, LLC, Danya International, Syniverse Technologies, Keynote Systems and The George Washington University. MTV Networks (News - Alert) is a media sponsor.
A situation of public health crisis has become very common in United States. In the past few years the rate of infant mortality has also shown a rise. More than 500,000 babies are born premature and around 28,000 children die in the very first year of their birth. In such a critical time Text4baby has been launched as a savior for the healthcare industry of the States.
“We believe programs like text4baby are critical to providing much-needed information and support to pregnant women and new moms, especially among underserved populations,” said Brian D. Perkins, corporate vice president of corporate affairs for Johnson & Johnson, text4baby’s founding sponsor. “We hope this program not only helps reduce infant mortality rates but also serves as an example of how the private and public sectors can work together to solve problems.”
In related news, Verizon (News - Alert) Wireless, the company that offers most reliable wireless voice and 3G data network is to participate in text4baby.
Deepika Mala is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Michael Dinan