Asha Rani, a mother of two children living in the slums of Dhaka, Bangladesh, learned how to provide better care for herself and her newborn through a mobile service provided by the local team of the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Health (MAMA) called ‘Aponjon’ or “the trusted one.” After the birth of her second child, Asha and her husband signed up to receive weekly voice and SMS messages, which are also used by her husband and her mother-in-law.
Asha explains, “I have one nine year old son and a one year old daughter. I conceived my second baby after nine years due to the difficult experience with the first one. From my experience with my older son I did not know how to take care of him or what to feed him. I didn’t know that I was supposed to exclusively breast feed up to six months. My elder son for sick frequently and I had to visit the doctor or hospital all the time. There was so much I didn’t know.”
After receiving the stage-based messages, Asha learned about the importance of making eye contact, “when my baby became three months the message told me to make eye contact with her. I did not know babies learn that way.” She receives information about immunization, and what to feed her baby in the convenience of her home.
“My husband inspires me very much by reading the messages. Even my mother-in-law follows the Aponjon messages and helps me take care of the baby. Everyone in our family takes care of my child by following the messages,” she continued.
MAMA Bangladesh is now a nationally scaled program that reaches women, husbands, and mothers-in-law all across Bangladesh. The program has a goal of reaching 2 million mothers by 2015. You can listen here to the kinds of voice messages Asha is receiving. This simple tool has been empowering to her and her family. $5 provides her with six months of mobile health messages to guide her throughout pregnancy and her baby’s first year.
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This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post.