Pathfinder Awarded New Grant to Improve Reproductive, Maternal, and Child Health through Mobile Health Services

Pathfinder International is delighted to announce that we have been chosen as one of several winners of a new grant from mHealth Alliance and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) provided through the Innovation Working Group (IWG), in support of the Every Woman, Every Child movement. The grants, funded by Norad and administered in partnership with the World Health Organization Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction (WHO, HRP), aim to assist mobile health projects in moving beyond the pilot phase to achieve scale.

Pathfinder's grant will support Nigeria's Saving One Million Lives initiative and scale up of CommCare, a mobile phone decision support application, to improve the quality of maternal and child health services offered at primary health centers. Pathfinder will also provide technical assistance to the SURE-P project to integrate mobile money as an option for pregnant women to receive conditional cash transfer payments to increase the efficiency and security of transactions. Building upon the current m4Change pilot project, Pathfinder will implement CommCare in a total of 50 primary health centers in Abuja and Nasarawa, and will train 350 healthcare workers to use the mobile phone application.

A total of 10 mHealth projects in countries across Africa and Asia were selected to receive grants this year. The 2013 grant winners join an impressive collection of organizations supported by IWG catalytic grants for the purpose of implementing mHealth to improve the lives of mothers and children in developing countries. Collectively, the three rounds of IWG grantees aspire to reach nearly 31 million people spread across communities in 14 countries with lifesaving messaging and services. This year, for the first time, two of the grant winners (including Pathfinder) are implementing projects focused specifically on reproductive health.  

"In 2013 we received more qualified, promising proposals than ever before, and we are delighted to be awarding grants to 10 recipients, two more than in previous years," said Helga Fogstad, head of Global Health section at Norad. "This is a reflection of the momentum of mHealth for maternal and child health around the world, and Norad is committed to helping further this momentum by supporting mHealth programs to reach national scale and positively impact the health of millions in hard to reach areas."

In addition to catalytic funding, these competitive grants offer targeted technical assistance, provided by the mHealth Alliance and WHO. This assistance helps guide grantees through critical, yet challenging, processes along the path to scaling up. During the two-year grant period, grant winners will have the opportunity to not only receive technical assistance but also to collaborate and share lessons learned with each other and the previous rounds of grantees. The shared learning will, in turn, contribute to the global mHealth community's understanding of best practices for scaling up mHealth.

"In its third year, the IWG catalytic grant program has established itself as a powerful mechanism for supporting and encouraging the scale-up of innovative mHealth projects with studies and data that indicate they are on the pathway to impact," said Patricia Mechael, executive director of the mHealth Alliance. "The unique combination of catalytic funding, coupled with technical guidance and a network of like-minded collaborators, truly provides our grant winners with the resources they need to move successfully from the pilot stage to wide-scale implementation.  The work of these grantees impacts the lives of mothers and children in meaningful, tangible ways, and supports global efforts to achieve Millennium Development Goals 4 (reduce child mortality), 5 (improve maternal health) and 6 (reduce the burden of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis)."

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