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Sharing Innovations in Health

PRESS RELEASE
National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB)
4401 Ford Avenue
Suite 300
Alexandria, VA 22302
MEDIA CONTACT:
Jennifer Sharp, jsharp@hmhb.org or 703-838-7552

A Partnership on Mobile Technologies to Promote Healthy Mothers
and Babies in Russia

June 23, 2010 – The National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB) and the Healthy Russia Foundation will announce the launch of text4baby International at today’s Civil Society Summit.  Taking place in tandem with the Obama-Medvedev Presidential Summit, this forum brings together innovators from a variety of disciplines to generate recommendations for collaboration between the United States and Russia.

This collaboration and launch of text4baby International marks an exciting step for a program that highlights the potential for Russian-US partnership and brings innovative technologies to health care.

Text4baby is a nationwide free mobile information service that promotes maternal and child health among women in the US.  An educational program of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition, text4baby provides pregnant women and new mothers with information they need to care for their own health and give their babies the best possible start in life.  Text4baby was launched nationally in the US in February 2010 by Aneesh Chopra, US Chief Technology Officer.  In less than five months, the program has reached nearly 50,000 users with free, timely health information delivered via text messages, thanks to the generous support of the US mobile operators. 

The Healthy Russia Foundation will further develop this program’s success in Russia by establishing a public-private partnership and working closely with the US text4baby team.  Judy Meehan, Chief Executive Officer of HMHB, says:  “We are thrilled to share the program’s strategies for success so that they may benefit Russian families.  This technology presents a valuable, underutilized channel for delivering vital health information to vulnerable populations worldwide.  We hope this pilot will be the first of many similar efforts to expand the use of mobile phones.”

Healthy Russia Foundation is a Russian NGO and a key partner for the US Agency for International Development in Russia. USAID fully applauds this partnership between a Russian and American NGO as an excellent example of Russian and American civil society working together to promote innovation in health.  “This program model holds great promise for profound impact in Russia.  Many Russian women who want to do the best they can for their children need help to do so.  We hope that by providing them with information they need in a manner that is easy and convenient, we can connect them to care,” says Elena Dmitrieva, Executive Director, Healthy Russia Foundation. 

There are nearly 5 billion phones and over 3 billion SMS users worldwide who send on average 2.6 SMS per day, making text messaging the most used communication tool on the planet.

About text4baby

In the US, text4baby is made possible through a public-private partnership that includes government, corporations, academic institutions, professional associations, tribal agencies, and non-profit organizations.  Founding partners include HMHB, Voxiva, CTIA – The Wireless Foundation, and WPP.  Johnson & Johnson is the founding sponsor, and Premier sponsors include WellPoint, Pfizer, and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield.  U.S. government partners include the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Defense Military Health System.  The mobile health platform is provided by Voxiva, and free messaging services are generously provided by participating wireless service providers.  Implementation partners include BabyCenter, Danya International, Syniverse Technologies, Keynote Systems, and The George Washington University.  MTV Networks is a media sponsor.

About HMHB

The National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB) is the only coalition of its kind which acts as a catalyst for change by creating partnerships among community groups, nonprofit organizations, professional associations, businesses and government agencies. The Coalition promotes optimal health for mothers and babies, and works to strengthen families and build healthy communities.