Degrees recently featured a post “Family planning and text messages: How mobile phones can save lives” from Kelly L’Engle, an FHI 360 scientist, that highlighted Mobile for Reproductive Health (m4RH), a text-message-based health communication program that provides lifesaving information about family planning methods to anyone with access to a mobile phone.
The m4RH team is now very excited to be considered as a finalist for funding through Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development (Round III). A DevelopmentXChange event taking place in Washington, DC, July 29–31 represents the final stage of the funding competition, and the public showcase will feature displays of the projects for each finalist. The showcase will also feature live and online voting for a People’s Choice Award, which will be considered in final funding decisions.
m4RH needs your votes!
To vote for m4RH for the People’s Choice Award in person, attend the showcase from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, July 31st at the Ronald Reagan Building (1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20004).
To vote for m4RH for the People’s Choice Award online, please visit http://savinglivesatbirth.net/summaries/248 (you must register to vote).
Why should you vote?
220 million women need contraception. By providing information and addressing common myths and misconceptions about contraception, m4RH will help prevent unintended pregnancies and encourage healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies. m4RH represents a simple, yet powerful innovation that addresses unmet contraceptive need and health worker shortages by putting contraceptive information and decision making directly into the hands of men and women. The ubiquity, interactivity and relative low cost of text messaging means m4RH has the potential to increase access to contraceptive choice, ultimately reducing child mortality and improving maternal health outcomes.
If funding is awarded, the team will work to transition m4RH from a pilot-at-scale to a global reproductive health initiative to support efforts to decrease maternal, infant, and child morbidity and mortality in Africa and Asia.
In the three years since m4RH was launched, m4RH has:
Achieved broad reach at scale
In Tanzania, m4RH has been incorporated into a national family planning initiative that led to 50,000 people using m4RH in just three months. Between April and September 2012, data from 25,000 users in Tanzania documented that m4RH reached into rural and urban areas, with users located in 127 out of 129 districts.
Received global recognition
In 2012, m4RH was selected by Women Deliver 50! as one of the top 10 innovative technology programs supporting women and girls. The program was also a winner of the 2013 African Development Bank eHealth Award.
Been adapted for new audiences and contexts
The Ministry of Health in Rwanda requested that m4RH be adapted for young people by including information on contraception, HIV, other sexually transmitted infections, sex and pregnancy, and puberty.