The initiative called Mama: Together for Safe Births in Crisis began April 21, 2011. Launched by the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC), its goal is to help isolated maternal health workers and pregnant mothers.
Womendeliver.org revealed that at least 25 percent of displaced women of child-bearing age can be pregnant at any given time. This is a very important fact since being in foreign surroundings may mean more stress and no way to access the needed medical care, especially for emergencies.
Hence, WRC has addressed the need to get pertinent information to maternal health workers in a practical and easy way. How? Facebook, of course! Via SMS communications, Facebook will make it possible for these workers to send a text message to a specific phone number, which is saved and posted to the Mama Facebook-group wall through a Facebook application.
Network members will respond, but before the response is sent back, answers will be screened by three other members, and then released to the original sender. On certain days, mentors are assigned to answer questions as well. Inquiries can be sent regarding breaking news and research findings. This way, maternal health workers – no matter how isolated – can feel part of a professional community.
Will it work? Doctors like Wilma Doedens, technical advisor in Reproductive Health for United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA) – Humanitarian Response Branch, seems to think so. She is quoted on the UNFPA.org website referring to the cholera breakout in Haiti. She herself had to write to a colleague in Zimbabwe to get additional information on how to handle such a situation. The Mama initiative will be a key asset in such instances.
Resource: United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Womendeliver.org
Dita Faulkner is a freelance writer with a fantastic blog - everything that concern women – great and small. Check it out at: