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Department of Health, UNICEF, and dtac collaborate on free SMS service to promote child health and development

BANGKOK, February, 2014 – The Department of Health (DOH), UNICEF and dtac agreed today to cooperate on a two-year “SMS for Family” project aimed at providing essential child care information to  parents.

A  Memorandum of Understanding for the SMS for Family project was signed at DOH’s annual academic seminar, which is being held from 25-27 February at the Miracle Grand Hotel and Convention Centre. Under the project, parents will be provided free SMS messages with recommended optimum child development practices from the time of early pregnancy up to a child’s second birthday. The free of charge SMS service was developed by a team of doctors and child development experts, are selected to match the developmental milestones for each age group. The messages cover various topics, such as child health, nutrition, common illnesses, injury prevention and early childhood development.

Dr. Pornthep Siriwanarangsun, Director-General of Department of Health said child development remains a challenge in Thailand. According to a survey on early childhood development conducted by DOH in 2010, about 30 per cent of children aged 0-5 years have slightly slow development. Moreover, about 19 per cent and 8 per cent of children also have slow language and muscle developments respectively.

“I’m very glad that DOH, dtac and UNICEF have collaborated on the SMS for Family project, which certainly supports our work in promoting mothers and child health,” said Dr. Pornthep. “This is a direct communication channel with pregnant women, mothers and families who can receive useful information for themselves and their children. This will benefit child development in Thailand.”

DOH has launched several policies to promote the well-being of children and women in Thailand, as well as equal access to health care and services. These policies include free access to ante-natal care, “parenting schools” that  are in line with the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals on reducing child mortality and improve maternal health.

Mr.Bijaya Rajbhandari, the UNICEF Representative for Thailand, said “by working together with the private sector and the Department of Health, we will be able to use our combined expertise and technical know-how to create a service that can help address some of the remaining challenges to children’s well-being in Thailand.”

Mr.Jon Eddy Abdullah, CEO of Total Access Communication PLC. or dtac, said “dtac is glad to use our mobile technology and business expertise to benefit the development of children. The mobile phone technology is one of the most effective channels to reach our target audience.”

In addition, Telenor Group and UNICEF have signed a global partnership agreement and are joining forces to promote children's development.  The five-year agreement includes Baht 18.5 million in financial support and access to a range of mobile technology solutions that will help advance children's rights. Last year, dtac and Telenor also provided 1.3 million baht to UNICEF to support research on birth registration in Thailand.

“dtac is pleased to collaborate with UNICEF and DOH to promote *1515 SMS for Family,” Mr.Abdullah added. “We would like to encourage everyone to sign up for the service through various activities, such as the conferences, trainings and other events that will be organized by DOH and partners.”

Pregnant women and parents can subscribe to this service free of charge, regardless of the mobile operating network that they use. dtac customers can dial *1515 and call, while customers of other networks can dial 02 202 8900 (cost varies by package).

For more information, please contact
Pornthida Padthong, UNICEF Thailand, 02 356 9484 or 086 567 1778 or ppadthong@unicef.org

On-Uma Vattanasuk Rerkpattanapipat, dtac, 082 330 1010 or onumar@dtac.co.th

 

 
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