ASSOCIATION OF PERINATAL NETWORKS PARTNERS IN UNPRECEDENTED PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP TO ADDRESSS RISING U.S. INFANT MORTALITY RATE
First-Ever Free Mobile Health Service Text4baby Provides Health Tips to Pregnant Women, New Moms
February 2010 -- The Association of Perinatal Networks and Maternal-Infant Services Network will join other national and local organizations as an outreach partner of text4baby -a new free mobile information service providing timely health information to pregnant women and new moms from pregnancy through a baby's first year.
Women who sign up for the service by texting BABY to 511411 (or BEBE for Spanish) receive three free SMS text messages each week timed to their due date or baby's date of birth. These messages focus on a variety of topics critical to maternal and child health, including birth defects prevention, immunization, nutrition, seasonal flu, mental health, oral health and safe sleep. Text4baby messages also connect women to prenatal and infant care services and other resources.
"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."
The text4baby program is made possible through an unprecedented public-private partnership which includes the White House Office on Science and Technology Policy, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Voxiva, CTIA-The Wireless Foundation, Grey Healthcare Group (a WPP company) and founding corporate sponsor Johnson & Johnson. Premier sponsors include WellPoint, Pfizer and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield. Wireless carriers are distributing text messages at no charge to recipients. Participating carriers include: Alltel, AT&T, Cellular South, Cellcom, Centennial Cellular, Cincinnati Bell, Metro PCS, N-Telos, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon, and Virgin Mobile. Implementation partners include BabyCenter, Danya International, Syniverse Technologies, Keynote Systems and The George Washington University.
Each year in the U.S., more than 500,000 babies are born prematurely and an estimated 28,000 children die before their first birthday, signifying a public health crisis. The infant mortality rate in the U.S. is one of the highest in the industrialized world, and for the first time since the 1950s, that rate is on the rise.
Research shows that while 90 percent of Americans have a mobile phone fewer have access to the Internet, and texting is more prevalent among women of childbearing age. "By putting key health information directly into the hands of pregnant women and new moms, text4baby demonstrates the tremendous reach of mobile health technology and the ability of mobile phones to inform and engage people to help them live healthier lives," said Paul Meyer, chairman and president of Voxiva, the mobile health platform provider. "These same tools can be applied to many of the America's big health care challenges."
For additional information or to find out how to become involved locally with this initiative, please contact Maternal-Infant Services Network at (845) 928-7448 for Caren Fairweather at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or contact the Association of Perinatal Networks at (607)772-0517 for Erin White at email@example.com.