Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) or the rate at which infants (below the age of one) die has been a grave concern since long; it has been standing on the top priority for the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) in India.
UP Government comes up with an innovative solution to equip rural health workers, ASHA, with smartphones. The initiative is an effort to improve the state’s maternal and infant mortality rate by digitizing paper-based tasks.
The State Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav launched the mobile app, mSehat on October 13, 2015, to ensure easy record of data of mother and the child on real-time basis. "Equipping frontline health workers like ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activists), auxiliary nurse midwives and medical officers with latest technique would improve their proficiency and make the state healthier,” Yadav said.
What is mSehat?
Swaniti Initiative conducted a study recently on state-level IMR. The results declared Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Madhya Pradesh as the top areas with highest IMR during 2006-2012. This was when the gravity of the situation came in limelight and the action was taken.
mSehat is a mobile health solution launched by SIFPSA (State Innovations in Family Planning Services Agency), a UP government body that would be used by ASHA workers to store real-time data of mother and the child.
Kellton Tech is associated as the technology partner of the app. The organization developed the mobile app and is rolling out the solution throughout the state.
"mSehat is an initiative by the UP government through its agency called SIFPSA to enable health workers, ASHA - who work at the ground level for many government health schemes ", says Karanjit Singh, Chief Executive Officer, Kellton Tech Solutions Ltd. (India).
mSehat is an effort to digitize the traditional paper-work system for the ASHA workers and store all data about the mother and the child on a centralized server. This would also help the Auxiliary Nurses Midwife (ANM) and medical officers including doctors access the data easily.
"This is a very forward looking initiative by the UP government towards digitizing the paper-based system will always have time delay. Under this project, we will be enabling ASHA workers with digital platform, where they will be provided smart phones equipped with the mSehat app," said Singh.
mSehat is a feature-rich application that empowers the worker to store data step-by-step. It comprises of a checklist, training videos, backend MIS, reporting and setting alerts – that shall help the machinery run in a more systematic way.
Sharing more details of the concept, Singh stated, “Kellton Tech developed the solution and is responsible for its rolling out at the ground level, for which we have tied up with an international NGO who would be running the program for the initial three years.”
The solution would be rolled out in five districts initially that includes Mirzapur, Faizabad, Sitapur, Bareilly and Kannauj and eventually would spread throughout the state.
After distributing around 50 smartphones at the launch, the company will now be handing over devices to 10,252 ASHA workers and tablets to 1,719 ANMs and 300 people comprising medical officers & SIFPSA staff.
Kellton Tech has tied-up with Airtel for 2G connectivity and cloud service, while Videocon Industries is the hardware partner.
With UP government setting an example, Assam and Madhya Pradesh is soon expected to follow the suit and work on similar initiatives to minimize Infant Mortality Rate.
Karanjit Singh shows strong confidence in mSehat and assures that the solution shall prove extremely beneficial for countries like Africa too who have high maternal and infant mortality rate.