MAMA releases new child messages for ages 1-3!

By Joanne Peter, Deputy Director, MAMA

According to the WHO, approximately 70% of child mortality is due to conditions that are preventable and treatable by simple, affordable interventions. In Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, the child mortality rate is still 175 deaths per 1000 children, compared with 6 per 1000 in industrialized countries.

In response to these statistics, MAMA is delighted to release a new set of free, adaptable mobile messages specifically designed to support low-income mothers and families caring for children from ages 1-3. Building on the success of MAMA’s pregnancy and baby messages – currently in use by 235 organizations in almost 60 countries around the world – the addition of MAMA child messages means that a woman can now receive support from the day she first learns she’s pregnant until her child’s third birthday. That’s almost four years of messages! These messages were developed for MAMA by BabyCenter, a Johnson & Johnson company, in partnership with MDG Health Alliance, GBC Health and UNICEF, in support of Every Woman, Every Child and A Promise Renewed. You can read more in this blogpost by Leith Greenslade from MDG Health Alliance.  You can read more in this blogpost featured on Huffington Post by Leith Greenslade from MDG Health Alliance.      

The messages can be sent directly to a mother via her mobile phone to educate and empower her to take the best care of her child, including tips on breastfeeding/nutrition, hand washing, and reminders for immunization appointments.  Messages also include information on how to prevent and treat pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria, the three largest causes of death in children under five years.

  • Sample message: Trust your instincts. If you think your child is unwell, take her to the clinic. You know her better than anyone else, so trust yourself.
  • Sample message: Keep your child away from anyone who coughs and sneezes. Many illnesses are spread through coughs and sneezes, including pneumonia.

The messages are timed according to a child’s birthdate so that they align with a child’s developmental milestones and reference the exact behavior that a mother will be observing in her own child. This helps to build confidence and trust in the messages over time.

  • Sample message: Your child will take her first steps soon, if she hasn’t already. All children are different. She will develop at her own pace.

Organizations wishing to adapt the messages for their own programs can apply for access through the MAMA website. MAMA also offers guidelines and online training sessions to support organizations as they begin to establish their own messaging systems.