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Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, dtac , and UNICEF join hands to improve the health and development of Thailand’s youngest children with free information via ‘*1515 New Moms’ SMS service

Bangkok, June 15, 2016 – The Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, UNICEF Thailand, and Total Access Communication PLC or dtac join hands to tackle Thailand’s child health problems and launch the ‘New Moms’ SMS service to provide parents with free information on child health, nutrition, brain growth and development – as part of collective efforts to improve the quality of Thai society. 
     Currently, there are 22,034,850 children and youth in Thailand or 33.83 per cent of the total population. Children are critical to the country’s future and the Government recognizes the importance of investing in child health and development so that they can grow to become a strong foundation for the country’s development in the future.
     Mr. Maitri Inthusut, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Social Development and Human Security (MSDHS), said, “The MSDHS has collaborated with the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Public Health to fund the 400 Baht-monthly subsidy project for low-income families with newborn infants born between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016. After the campaign had run for six months, the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) conducted a study and reported that the campaign has greatly benefited the children whose families were receiving the grand, especially the poorest families. As a result, the Government has extended the entitlement period from one to three years and increased the monthly allowance from 400 Baht to 600 Baht per child per month, starting from fiscal year 2017.”
     “Besides financial support, we have to educate and provide new parents with information on child care, nutrition, and stimulation and development for children. Therefore, we have partnered with dtac, UNICEF Thailand, and the Department of Public Health to launch the ‘New Moms’ SMS service to provide childcare information to subscribed parents free-of-charge on a daily basis. The service is available for all mobile users,” said Mr. Inthusut.
     Mr. Lars Norling, Chief Executive Officer, Total Access Communication PLC or dtac, said, “the health of Thailand’s youngest children has been high on national agenda and the Government give the issue top priority. To support this work, dtac launched the ‘*1515 New Moms’ SMS service in 2013 as a channel that can reach out directly and effectively to the target families. dtac, works with maternity and child health doctors, and sends out SMS messages with information on health, nutrition, common diseases, and child development for children aged zero to six to over 150,000 subscribers.”
     Mr. Thomas Davin, UNICEF Representative for Thailand, said, “UNICEF believes that when parents and caregivers have the knowledge and understanding on child care, regardless of their economic status, they will be able to support children to have better health and age-appropriate development, and build a warm and loving environment for them. Extending the channel of information for the Child Support Grant recipients to SMS can help parents and caregivers adopt positive child care practices, giving every child the chance to grow up and develop to their fullest potential.
     Pregnant women and parents can subscribe for the SMS service free-of-charge. For dtac customers, press *1515 and dial. For customers of other networks, call 02-202-8900 (cost varies by package).
  Picture: (from left) Mr. Maitri Inthusut, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Social Development and Human Security (MSDHS), Mr. Lars Norling, Chief Executive Officer, Total Access Communication PLC (dtac) and Mr. Thomas Davin, UNICEF Representative for Thailand announce the collaboration on the ‘*1515 New Moms’ SMS service, providing free information on child health to parents whom registered to receive child support grant.