Aponjon- mHealth

THE CHALLENGE

Bangladesh has made significant progress in health care, however, still:

  • 1 woman dies every hour from pregnancy related complications
  • 15 infants die every hour for different complications within 2 days of birth
  • Only 1 in 4 mothers has at least 4 antenatal care visits
  • Only 1 in 3 mothers has their delivery attended by trained medical professionals
  • 1 in 4 women does not follow the recommended exclusive breast-feeding care during the first 6 months her baby’s

The facts are shocking and deserve immediate attention. So, we asked: “How could we help turn the situation around for expecting and new mothers, where the mortality rate for both mothers and neonates stood at a high 80%?

THE SOLUTION

In Bangladesh, mobile phone subscription stands at 85 million with 63% of households carrying at least one mobile phone.

SSD-TECH built the technical platform for a mobile IVR and SMS based information service for expecting and new mothers devised by Dnet, the first nationwide service of its kind to send important and possibly critical life-saving health messages to pregnant women and mothers with new born babies (as well as husbands/guardians) to help reduce maternal and child mortality rate. This service would be made widely available to mothers located at the fringe of suburbs or remote areas far from professional healthcare facilities.

 

With targeted and timely information, mothers and guardians would be empowered to seek better health care in every stage of development. The types of messages sent included: pregnancy/baby care tips, emergency preparation, timely notifications like when to immunize the child, recognizing warning signs, motivational messages for husbands or guardians. It’s a simple service reinforcing the fact that knowledge in the hands of mothers and caregivers everywhere is the power to change lives for good.

KEY BENEFITS DELIVERED

EASY REGISTRATION FOR MOTHERS IN FAR AWAY/RURAL AREAS
Through self-registration by SMS, IVR or call centers, as well as assisted registration by health workers or community angels, it was easy for mothers in remote areas to get connected to the system and retrieve important information. An auto generated unique ID based on GEO code for Health Workers would also enable them to register on behalf of mothers and keep tabs on their health and pregnancy status, from wherever they were located.

 

TIMELY SMS INFORMATION COULD SAVE LIVES

The customer service call center would direct mothers to the nearest facility and doctors. Subscribers could switch from pregnancy-related messages to childcare once the baby arrives, as all mothers with newborn babies (less than one year) would be asked to enter the DOB (dd/mm) of the baby during registration. Subscribers could further listen to previous messages, or listen to the same message again if required.

 

IVR MADE THE MAMA SERVICE HIGHLY USER FRIENDLY

When users dial into the short code, they would be able to listen to the main menu which will contain the following features:

  • To register by self
  • To register through a health worker
  • To listen to the messages for the current and previous week
  • To update about premature delivery
  • To discontinue the service (for woman and husband/guardian)

 

DUAL CARE FOR BOTH MOTHER AND GUARDIAN

Often, pregnancy involves and overwhelms not only the mother but those closest to her. The new mother/subscriber can provide an additional guardian’s number at the time of registration. Our system would then proceed to send a registration confirmation SMS consent to the guardian, who would be invited to respond with a YES/NO.

 

DIRECT CONNECTION TO SPECIALIST DOCTORS

Mothers are now able to converse with specialist doctors live, over mobile devices. A dial-through from their handsets to the customer service would link the mothers up to the closest geographical facility where doctors will be notified to assist.

 

THE RECOGNITION

Aponjon (MAMA Bangladesh) is being implemented by Dnet in partnership with Bangladesh’s Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. MAMA is an innovative public-private partnership between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Johnson & Johnson, the United Nations Foundation and BabyCenter, aiming to deliver vital health information to new and expectant mothers through mobile phones

 

These partnerships enabled a greater rich and sustainability of the project through the supporting arms of various corporations with strengths of their own. After the success of the pilot phase, the second phase is now taking place which will target millions of mothers, husbands and guardians with all the operators in Bangladesh.

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