Nationwide launch of Mobile Health Program in rural India signals new era of mHealth for emerging economies

Nationwide launch of Mobile Health Program in rural India signals new era of mHealth for emerging economies
Platform overcomes technology barriers; delivers life-saving health information to mothers and pregnant women on mass scale
Jan 15, 2016 (WASHINGTON)—Today, the Government of India launched a nationwide mobile health program designed to train community health workers and to directly reach millions of women within three years. The program is powered by MOTECH, a robust yet simple-to-use mobile health (mHealth) technology developed by Grameen Foundation, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“Until now, mHealth applications have been relatively small and siloed,” said John Tippett, Global Director of Mobile Health at Grameen Foundation. “By allowing systems to work together and serve huge numbers of people, MOTECH opens a new era for tackling global health problems at scale through mobile technology.”…

India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare announced the national roll out of two MOTECH-powered programs developed by BBC Media Action – Mobile Academy and Kilkari – both aimed at addressing health challenges that result in high infant and maternal mortality rates.

Kilkari directly calls pregnant women and mothers, delivering crucial health information targeted to their stage of pregnancy or their infant’s age. Mobile Academy uses Interactive Voice Response (IVR) messages on mobile phones to train front-line health workers in maternal and infant care. The health workers, known as ASHAs (Accredited Social Health Activists), are selected by the village they serve, and are central to India’s strategy to improve maternal and child health.

“The Government of India has launched Digital India program in order to transform the entire ecosystem of public services through the use of Information Technology,” said Shri Jagat Prakash Nadda, the Honorable Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare. “We need to transform healthcare by empowering people to become active healthcare citizens with choice but most powerfully with information and to take more responsibility over their own health and life choices… . I am confident that these services will bring us a step closer to the people who need our services the most.”

As of today’s announcement, national scale-up is underway. Kilkari—which is the Hindi word for “a baby’s gurgle,”—is live in six states, and Mobile Academy in four…