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Caring & Giving
Mobilizing Tech for Moms: How BabyCenter Is Helping Infants Worldwide
Mobilizing Tech for Moms: How BabyCenter Is Helping Infants Worldwide
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On the heels of the 2018 Social Innovation Summit, we look at how BabyCenter has used their tech expertise and deep passion for connecting with parents to help little ones thrive—through mobile messaging.
Colleen Hancock visited families that benefited from mMitra on a recent trip to India

Where you live should not determine if you live.

And yet, in the world’s poorest countries, the odds are stacked against babies surviving the first month of life. When I put a face to the statistics, and spoke with mothers who were afraid to look their babies in the eye because they feared they would die, I knew I needed to act.

Our vision at BabyCenter®, part of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies, is a world of healthy pregnancies, thriving children and confident parents—and that means for everyone, everywhere.

One of my proudest accomplishments—aside from my own children—is co-founding the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA) eight years ago with BabyCenter, Johnson & Johnson, USAID and the United Nations Foundation. Through this program, we have been able to deliver educational resources and vital information via mobile messaging to help mothers and their babies have a healthy start in life.

This partnership is the foundation for the maternal and child health programs Johnson & Johnson has since launched in six countries with the highest maternal and infant mortality rates, including MomConnect in South Africa and mMitra in India.

A Global Goal: Raising Healthy Children

The biggest lesson I’ve learned from visiting women around the globe who’ve benefited from these programs is that all moms want the same thing—for our children to be healthy and thrive.

I vividly remember one family I met in Delhi with a 6-month-old baby girl who overcame significant health challenges. As Dad played with the baby, Mom told me that because of the messages she had received from BabyCenter, she knew to go to the clinic when she didn’t feel her baby kicking, was persistent about breastfeeding despite the challenges she faced and learned how to treat her baby’s infected umbilical cord.

While there are cultural nuances in each country, we’ve found the journey of parenthood is very similar—no matter where you are in the world.

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As Mom spoke, the baby’s grandmother motioned for me to sit next to her. She placed her hand on my knee and said, “Thank you.”

It’s because of stories like these that I was proud to attend the Social Innovation Summit (SIS) this month to share our learnings and discuss how companies can make a difference through partnerships with local organizations and by scaling technologies for the developing world.

How Simple Messages Are Making a Big Difference

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Two MomConnect users discuss a message sent by the service

Leveraging technology to reach people. At BabyCenter, we know that mobile technology plays a crucial role today in helping parents navigate the journey of parenthood. It also presents a tremendous opportunity to reach mothers and families in the most remote corners of the world. We provide content via SMS and voice calls, and are also adapting to evolving technology by creating content via WhatsApp.

Leaning into our expertise, but not going at it alone. BabyCenter develops content for these mobile messaging programs that leverages all the principles that make us the #1 pregnancy and parenting digital destination globally. We then collaborate with local partners on the ground to develop the technology and reach more women.

Knowing that our common humanity unites us more than it differentiates us. Our messages are medically reviewed, culturally relevant, timed to the women’s stage of pregnancy and built on an emotional connection with the families to educate and invoke behavior change. While there are cultural nuances in each country, we’ve found the journey of parenthood is very similar—no matter where you are in the world.

Testing, learning and iterating. To reach more people in need, we continue to challenge ourselves to evolve and grow. From our initial partnership with MAMA, BabyCenter has launched Mission Motherhood Messages to provide a turnkey solution to other countries looking to make an impact on maternal and child health. BabyCenter has reached more than 31 million women in low-resource settings across 45 countries, creating more than 5,300 messages.

All babies deserve a chance to thrive. I’m committed to empowering more women with vital health information that helps them nurture their children and create a healthier, happier world.

Every day, Johnson & Johnson goes the extra mile to ensure the products you use on your little ones are as safe as can be.

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