WASHINGTON, June 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Text4baby (www.text4baby.org), a free mobile educational service that provides timely health information to women from early pregnancy through their babies' first year, today announced that more than 50,000 participants have now registered to receive these weekly text messages. A program of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB), text4baby has sent over two million English and Spanish text messages to help pregnant and new mothers with the information they need to give their babies the best possible start in life.
Launched in February 2010, text4baby was developed to help combat the infant mortality rate in the U.S., which is one of the highest in the industrialized world. For the first time since the 1950s, this rate has been on the rise. In addition, one of the leading causes of infant mortality is prematurity. Key predictors of a child's chances for survival are birth weight and gestational age. Signifying a public health crisis, more than 500,000 babies – or 1 in every 8 – are born prematurely and an estimated 28,000 children will die before their first birthday in the U.S.
With more than 1.5 trillion text messages being sent and received in 2009 and since it is a popular form of communications by women of childbearing age and minority populations, text4baby decided to deliver the vital health information via text messages to those who need and want these recommendations the most.
According to text4baby enrollment numbers, 95 percent of participants would recommend the service to a friend. 65 percent of the enrollees are pregnant while 34 percent have new infants. The states with the most participants are California, Texas, Florida, New York, Virginia and Illinois.
"Thanks to our partnership with CTIA-The Wireless Foundation and the mobile carriers, we have sent a total of 2.3 million text messages to pregnant women and new moms nationwide since our February 4 launch," said Judy Meehan, executive director of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition. "For those of us dedicated to health education, knowing that so many messages are reaching the women who can most benefit from them is incredibly powerful and exciting."
"Text4baby is a tremendously successful program that's providing pregnant and new mothers with the right information they need to give their children a healthy start in life. The Wireless Foundation is honored to be a text4baby founding partner, and we're pleased that so many wireless companies have supported the program since its inception. This program is a fantastic example of a successful public-private partnership where technology, healthcare, government and interested parties joined and developed an innovative solution to address a very serious problem," said Steve Largent, president of The Wireless Foundation and president and CEO of CTIA-The Wireless Association®.
By texting "BABY" to 511411 (or "BEBE" for Spanish), a woman will be signed up to receive three free text messages each week that are timed to her due date or her baby's date of birth. These messages focus on a variety of topics critical to maternal and child health, including birth defects prevention, immunization, nutrition, seasonal flu, mental health, oral health and safe sleep. Text4baby text messages also connect women to prenatal and infant care services and other resources. Expectant or new mothers who opt-in to receive these text messages will incur no charges.
Text4baby is an educational program of HMHB, made possible through a public-private partnership that includes more than 280 entities. Federal partners include the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Defense Military Health System and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
The program's founding partners include HMHB, Voxiva, the CTIA-The Wireless Foundation and Grey Healthcare Group. Johnson & Johnson is the Founding Sponsor, and Premier Sponsors include WellPoint, Pfizer, and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield. The mobile health platform is provided by Voxiva and free messaging services are provided by participating wireless service providers. Implementation partners include BabyCenter, Danya International, Syniverse, Keynote Systems and The George Washington University. Other text4baby partners include national health professional associations; national NGOs; state and local government coalitions from across the country; and MTV Networks.
Participating carriers include: Alltel, Assurance Wireless, AT&T, Bluegrass Cellular, Boost Mobile, Cellular South, Cellcom, Centennial Cellular, Cincinnati Bell, Cricket, Metro PCS, N-Telos, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon Wireless and Virgin Mobile USA. Every effort has been made to block service from non-participating carriers, but if you find you have been able to access the service and have subsequently been charged, please contact the carrier in question to make them aware of the situation and to request a refund.
About the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition
The National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB) is the only coalition of its kind, which acts as a catalyst for change by creating partnerships among community groups, nonprofit organizations, professional associations, businesses and government agencies. The Coalition promotes optimal health for mothers and babies, and works to strengthen families and build healthy communities.
About The Wireless Foundation
The Wireless Foundation is a non-profit organization that was formed by member companies of CTIA-The Wireless Association® in 1991. The Foundation oversees a number of programs designed to put wireless technology to work addressing the challenges of society.
SOURCE CTIA-The Wireless Foundation