Text Messages can Save Lives

In May 2010, the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and the government of Gujarat implemented e-Mamta – a mother and child tracking system which sends SMS-based reminders about vaccinations, healthcare services and routine check-ups. LiveMint reports,

“Although there was abundance of information in health sector there was no ‘client’ focused model which would track services. Through e-Mamta the idea was to bring in a paradigm shift in data collection wherein we could see through the data, making it easy to find, communicate or use the information effectively and link it to individual beneficiaries,” says Anju Sharma, who conceived the initiative as the then director of the State Rural Health Mission. She was recently transferred as commissioner, women and child development department.

Using this mobile phone-based technology, the state managed to save four babies out of every 1,000 births, bringing down the infant mortality rate from 48 in every 1,000 births to 44 by 2011.

The success of this initiative in Gujarat has led to the service being implemented in all 26 districts of Gujarat, comprising 1,090 primary health centres, 7,274 sub-centres, 283 community health centres and 26 district hospitals. Presently, the application stores family health records of over 9.5 million families. E-Mamta has registered 2.17 million pregnant women and a little less than 1.3 million children up to age six. Besides this, in recognition of its success, the Union Government has begun to replicate the service in other states and union territories as well.

With this service, not only are mothers receiving important healthcare information and reminders for timely treatments, but in addition, it also allows for patient information to be stored for future use, and enables the maintenance of health records, something that had only been sporadically done in the past.

Read the article here: Text messages to aid maternity healthcare

About Ayesha Vemuri

Ayesha Vemuri is responsible for thought leadership and outreach efforts at CKS. She has undergraduate degree in Visual Art from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, where she also studied such varied subjects as biology, literature and the humanities. At CKS, she is responsible for curating the Design Public blog, managing our various social media platforms, organizing Pecha Kucha Nights and contributing to the intellectual content of the Design Public Conclave and other CKS initiatives. Find her on twitter at @ayeshavemuri.
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