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Millwood, VA, February 19, 2013

Global NGO Project HOPE and the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation are launching a pioneering program in Mexico City that will use text messages to educate low-income pregnant women and new mothers about ways to prevent and manage gestational diabetes. 

Project HOPE's innovative program, Using Mobile Technology for Diabetes Management Among High Risk Mothers in Mexico, funded by the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, will harness the speed, efficiency and prevalence of cell phones to reach approximately 1,000 women. Given the age range of pregnant women in Mexico (mid-twenties) and the urban environment, it is estimated that 85 percent of this target audience owns and uses a mobile phone daily. 

“With mobile phones literally at the fingertips of many pregnant women and new moms at risk of gestational diabetes, they are a powerful tool for teaching women how to avoid and care for the illness,” said Paul Madden, Senior Advisor, Non-communicable Diseases, at Project HOPE. 

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a condition in which the glucose level is elevated and other diabetic symptoms appear during pregnancy in a woman who has not previously been diagnosed with diabetes. GDM places an increased health risk on both the mother and child during pregnancy and has become a growing concern in Mexico and the world. Although GDM typically abates after pregnancy, gestational diabetes signals the risk of the mother and child developing diabetes in their lifetimes.  

The incidence of GDM in Mexico can be as high as 18% and between 30- 60% of women with GDM will develop Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes, within a decade or two and many develop it within five years. In type 2 diabetes, either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin, which is necessary for the body to be able to use glucose for energy. 

Text message content will remind women about follow-up clinic visits, as well as provide information about medication and treatments for gestational diabetes. In addition, messaging will include tips on preventing and managing the disease through healthy lifestyle choices such as diet and exercise.  

“This innovative program will provide the timely diabetes education and support that pregnant women and new mothers need to maintain their own healthy and the health of their child,” said John Damonti, President, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation.  

About Project HOPE 

Founded in 1958, Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere) is dedicated to providing lasting solutions to health problems with the mission of helping people to help themselves. Identifiable to many by the SS HOPE, the world’s first peacetime hospital ship, Project HOPE now provides medical training and health education, and conducts humanitarian assistance programs in more than 35 countries.

 

About the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation 

The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization whose mission is to promote health equity and improve the health outcomes of populations disproportionately affected by serious diseases and conditions by strengthening community-based health care worker capacity, integrating medical care and community-based supportive services, and mobilizing communities in the fight against disease.

Media Contact

Geraldine Carroll   Tel. 540.257.3746   gcarroll@projecthope.org