Now expecting mothers from underprivileged sections of the city will have the luxury of getting pregnancy-related tips directly on their phones. With the mMitra, a free mobile based health advisory voice messaging service, launched in the city on December 20, access to simple but important tips during and post pregnancy has become simpler for women who for the lack of easy accessibility of healthcare centres end up missing regular checkups and advices that need to be followed throughout the several stages of pregnancy.
mMitra is a public-private partnership between NGO ARMMAN, pharmaceutical company Glennmark and the BMC-run Sion Hospital.
Speaking about this initiative, Dr. Aparna Hegde, MD and Founder, Chairperson and Managing Trustee, ARMMAN said, “This initiative is an attempt to bring down maternal mortality rates and infant mortality rates that occur due to causes that are preventable”.
As a start, 5,000 women attending the antenatal clinic of Sion Hospital will be enrolled to be a part of mMitra and will receive voice messages regarding antenatal and infancy care for over two years. The messages in Hindi and Marathi that last for 60 to 90 seconds will be sent to the enrolled women in varying frequencies like during pregnancy, she will receive two messages per week, once a day in the first week after delivery, two messages per week in infancy until third month and one message a week once the infant turns one. Women also have the option of choosing a one-hour time slot for receiving the messages.
“A timed and targeted behaviour change communication is essential to motivate people to adopt better antenatal, prenatal and infancy care practices. The messages need to be such that they strike a chord with the listener and we have taken all the care to see to it that our messages are suitable for the concerned target audience. They have been medically verified and have been made in accordance with the needs of the people”, said Dr. Hegde.
“Also, we have a call centre where a lady can give a missed call in case she misses her message and she will be called back to give her the missed message”, added Dr. Hegde.