In this time of fiscal challenge, programs for women, infants and families are susceptible to the budget knife if they cannot prove their viability, sustainability and relevance to healthcare needs.
TEXT4BABY, the fantastic program founded by The National Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coaltion has catapulted to international recognition and adoption based on a simple concept… free text health messaging to pregnant and new moms. Supported by a robust and committed group of public/private partners, the program also demonstrates how to survive in a fiscally austere climate… build relationships and build value for the consumer.
With an embarassingly high infant mortality rate among industrialized nations, the USA has some catching up to do in the area of maternal health. There are many organizations fighting hard to turn this tide. But by educating moms as they go through this critical reproductive cycle.. which encompasses pre and post natal care.. the program appears to have found a cost effective way to increase voluntary engagement in pre and postnatal healthcare.
The messages include many aspects of new motherhood, parenting and infant health, but also offer mental health messaging. By including attention to mood changes during pregnancy and postpartum this program has begun to “normalize” the possibility of a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder in a way that will not add further stigma to its development…. it’s simply one potential outcome of pregnancy for which there is treatment and help. Raising awareness in this context paves the way for more dialogue with heathcare providers should symptoms appear.
You can read today’s article in the NY Times by clicking here… it’s a real shot in the arm for those of us who wonder if maternal health will ever take its rightful place among our nation’s (and the world’s) top priorities.
Congratulations to HMHB CEO Judy Meehan and her staff for their continuing leadership of this innovative program. And much appreciation is also owed to the public corporations whose continuing generosity and commitment to the project support its technological development and growth.