Did you know that 60 to 80% of pregnant women and 50% of children in India are anaemic? This is mostly caused by malnutrition and/or under nutrition and it has wide spread effects on the body. You will see many people suffering from dizziness and fatigue, stunted children and adults.
A woman dies in childbirth every ten minutes in India. More than 300,000 infants died on the day of their birth in 2011. Not just in rural areas. While the situation in rural India is grim, urban India does not offer much respite. This is due to a web of interrelated problems – poverty, the illegal nature of slums, inequitable distribution of resources, lack of community support, management problems in the government health system, and poor primary healthcare services and referral systems. As a result, urban slum populations are some of the most underserved in India, and their health indicators compare unfavorably with both rural and national averages.
The reasons? No health insurance, not enough well-educated physicians, not enough awareness on the own conditions and body reactions, lack of access to basic education – on health promotion, disease prevention, birth preparedness, and complications during pregnancy and infancy…
In Mumbai a promising activity in the slums has started. Mobile phone based. Very targeted and in time – these are the biggest challenges besides information spread itself and access.
mMitra program, an initiative of ARMMAN and Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action
The mMitra program is a mobile based service for pregnant women in the slums, through which the women receive voice calls providing them with preventive care information twice a week in her chosen timeslot and language. Mitra means friend in Hindi.
“The calls are about a minute and half long, delivered in a warm sisterly voice. If a woman misses a call, the service will keep trying to reach her. She can inform the call centre when she delivers, so that she can start receiving infancy messages. She can also inform the centre of other change in her health status, so that she gets the information that is most useful for her.
After delivery there is a mobile service, too to ensure the mothers that they will be able to care for baby through infancy, as the calls will continue until the child is one year old.” (See related content)
Mumbai: how to bring more health to the slum children and mothers