mHealth (mobile health) broadly encompasses the use of mobile telecommunication technologies in health care delivery. mHealth applications include the use of mobile devices in collecting community and clinical health data, delivery of healthcare information to practitioners, researchers, and patients, real-time monitoring of patient vital signs, and direct provision of care (via mobile telemedicine).
mHealth is an innovative health information service utilizing mobile phones to improve health services, specially in rural areas. In Bangladesh, ssd-tech has implemented the mHealth service that is available across all operators in Bangladesh. The basic premise of the service used to provide important health messages for pregnant women, mothers with new born babies and husbands/guardians to help reduce maternal and child mortality rate through improved health seeking behaviors through both IVR and SMS.
User-provided data combined with unique SMS-MO data (SIM number, etc.) generate end-users account and trigger a predefined algorithm for sending out interval reminding text messages.
IVR system that enables callers to hear specific recorded message tied to baby’s due date/date of birth, depending on the number/code dialed by the caller.
Aponjon (“the close/dear one”)
The MAMA Bangladesh mobile information program is known as Aponjon, which means “the close/dear one” in Bangla. During the project’s pilot phase, Aponjon provided almost 1,500 moms and household decision-makers within their families—usually spouses, mothers and mothers-in-law—with mobile messages. In April 2014, Aponjon has reached to 500,000 subscribers in its service spectrum.
The information is delivered twice a week in one of two forms: SMS, or short 60-second “mini-skit” voice messages, with local actors playing the roles of a doctor, pregnant woman, mother and mother-in-law. The characters enact scenarios in an entertaining and educational format. Dialogues range from the doctor explaining the importance of iron-rich food, to reminding the pregnant character that it is time for her medical checkup. In future, Aponjon plans to deliver the messages in dialects that differ significantly from the standard Bangla language spoken across the country.