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Norwegian Government Announces $1 Million for Initiative Using Mobile Technology to Support Maternal Health

Grant to mHealth Alliance Supports Use of Wireless Networks and Devices to Reduce Maternal and Newborn Mortality

Washington, DC —   November 9, 2010

The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, Norad, will commit US$1 million to support the Maternal mHealth Initiative. The commitment was announced during opening keynote remarks at the mHealth Summit, a three-day conference underway this week to explore ways mobile technology can increase the access, quality and efficiency of healthcare all over the world. The announcement follows on the heels of a $1 million commitment to the mHealth Alliance, announced yesterday by HP.

“More than five billion people around the world already have a mobile phone. Our aim is to transform this into a tool that can be used to provide access to the information and services that save mothers’ lives and help them deliver healthy babies,” said Tore Godal, Special Advisor for Global Health to the Prime Minister of Norway.

As co-chair of the United Nations’ Innovation Working Group for the Global Strategy for Maternal Health, Norway was instrumental in identifying mHealth, or the use of mobile technologies to support improved health delivery and services, as a critical innovation to achieving UN Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5, concerning child and maternal mortality and health.

David Aylward, Executive Director of the mHealth Alliance, welcomed the contribution, saying: “We can significantly reduce maternal and infant deaths by leveraging the rapidly growing slate of mobile health solutions. The Maternal mHealth Initiative, with this critical help from Norway, will unite the expertise of maternal, newborn and child health practitioners around the world with modern information and communications technologies, especially mobile. We deeply appreciate Norway’s leadership.” 

The contribution from Norad will support the Maternal mHealth Initiative (MMI) –- a core project of the mHealth Alliance. The Initiative has three parts: designing, developing, and delivering mHealth solutions to reduce maternal and infant mortality around the world through public-private partnerships and cross-sector collaboration. The grant from Norway is focused on undertaking a global inventory of current maternal and newborn mHealth projects, and sparking consensus discussions about model solutions. The MMI is dedicated to creating a complete range of programs and services to provide mHealth interventions at every point along the continuum of care -- empowering women and their health providers from before pregnancy to labor and beyond. 

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About the mHealth Alliance
The mHealth Alliance (mHA) mobilizes innovation to deliver quality health at the furthest reaches of wireless networks and mobile devices. Working with diverse partners, the mHA advances mHealth through research, advocacy, and support for the development of interoperable solutions and sustainable deployment models. The mHA sponsors innovation challenges and conferences, leads cross-sector mHealth initiatives, and hosts HUB (Health UnBound), a global online community for resource sharing and collaborative solution generation. Founding partners include the Rockefeller Foundation, United Nations Foundation and Vodafone Foundation, PEPFAR, the GSM Association and HP. More information is available at www.mHealthAlliance.org.

 
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