How mobile technology has been used to ensure the well-being of mother and child
Dr. Aparna Hegde, Founder, President and CEO of the nonprofit ARMMAN was included in Fortune’s 2021 list of Fortune’s 50 Greatest Leaders in the World. She did so to elaborate on the impactful work being done in maternal and child health care through technology during COVID-19.
Hegde remarked, “When the coronavirus pandemic hit, we adapted our vast technology platform and launched four COVID-19 interventions to help pregnant women, children and health workers. “
ARMMAN is also supporting the government in its door-to-door vaccination campaign, “Har Ghar Dastak”. The initiative aims at full vaccination in poor performing districts. They seek to do this by sending calls and messages to frontline health workers through their existing infrastructure. On the other hand, they collaborated with Google using AI to strengthen their interventions and improve maternal and child health outcomes.
Hegde explained, “ARMMAN has partnered with Google Research, India (AI for Social Good); CRCS, Harvard University; and IIT Chennai to use artificial intelligence to predict the risk of pregnant women dropping out of our mMitra program, while creating targeted interventions to improve positive health outcomes.
She added: “The pilot is already showing encouraging results – AI could enable ARMMAN to increase the number of women hired under the program by 50%.”
During her conversation with Mumbai Live, she explained how she has managed to organize innovative approaches and the use of mobile technology in the health field. Hegde explained, “When I was doing my residency at Sion Hospital in Mumbai, I saw pervasive systemic issues resulting in maternal and infant deaths that were completely preventable. Around this time the cell phone arrived in India, it was around this time that I decided to use the cell phone to fill the gaping systemic gaps in health care.
In addition, Hegde hopes to increase direct access of pregnant women and mothers to life-saving information and improve the knowledge of health workers to provide needed care on time.
“The ARMMAN approach is one where low-risk women at the base of the pyramid get broad content while those with high-risk or most disadvantaged conditions with the least equity get more targeted content. with greater support through two-way communication, ”said Hegde.
ARMMAN is also partnering with the Government of India to implement the world’s largest mobile maternal messaging program and health worker training program. Hegde said, “Our ‘tech plus tactile’ approach takes advantage of the existing network of frontline health workers from government, NGO partners and combines it with the ubiquity of the mobile phone, to achieve cost-effective scale without duplicating costs. efforts. “
As part of their partnership with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in January 2019, they implemented the Kilkari and Mobile Academy programs. Hegde explained, “Kilkari is the world’s largest mobile preschool messaging program and has reached 23.6 million women in India to date. Likewise, Mobile Academy is the largest training program for health workers in the world; more than 212,000 frontline health workers (ASHAs) have been trained to date.
While technology can be used to fight COVID-19, Hegde believes it should ensure that the vulnerable and those without access to the technology are not left behind. “It is important to design solutions based on access and therefore more equitable,” she says.