Uttarakhand has a very well defined structure of frontline health workers – Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA), ASHA facilitators and Auxiliary Nurse and Mid-wife (ANM) – who constantly work towards ensuring improved health indicators at village level. However, certain areas are weaker in performance due to difficult terrain, limited availability of health institutions and high volume of work on these health workers. Keeping these issues in mind and adapting to the changing needs for service delivery at community level, a smartphone-based job aid was developed by IntraHealth specifically for frontline health workers.
The project mSakhi has been implemented by the Uttarakhand State Health Department, Rural Development Institute and IntraHealth. The intervention was made in Dugadda block of district Pauri Garhwal as a demonstration block covering a population of over one lakh and more than one hundred and fifty health workers.
mSakhi is an award winning interactive, GPRS/3G-enabled health-based mobile application. Through the use of mSakhi Uttarakhand, frontline health workers can contribute to improve Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) services for women and children. The key objective of the project was to reduce infant mortality rate and maternal mortality rate. It assisted frontline health workers by collection of information, education and counselling. The application was customized as per the needs of the end user.
The application enhanced their working capacity and made their work more interactive and easier to deliver qualitatively. It reduced their workload during the preparation of village health index register gathering information at household level. The list included collection of information like identifying household details, mother and child health, nutrition, family planning, communicable and non-communicable diseases. Series of structured training were conducted by RDI for all frontline health workers using government structure in Dugadda.
To assess the change in work efficiency, accuracy of data and responsiveness, the adjoining block Yamkeshwar has also been taken up as a control block. However in this block, no mobile-based application was introduced and only the existing system is being observed. The purpose of this is to compare the mother and child health indicators of the two blocks at the end of the project and demonstrate the advantages of a technology versus non-technology driven model.
Hon’ble Health Minister of Uttarakhand, Shri Narendra Singh Negi, distributing smart phone to ASHAs