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mHealth services to help mothers track child’s nutrition

Posted:  Monday, April 11, 2016

New calling for mobile services to prevent childhood malnutrition! Two mobile health programmes are being launched by the government and a non-profit organisation on World Health Day. The Maharashtra state government will extend its existing mother-and-child tracking system to providing health alerts. The non-government organisation, Armman, will upgrade its mMitra mobile voice call service in Mumbai.

Through the mMitra service, around 3 lakh mothers in Mumbai will get SMS alerts and health messages. Dr. Aparna Hegde, the founder of Armman, said, "At present, we provide pregnant women with weekly calls on what to expect and do to stay healthy throughout their pregnancy and till their child turns one." The mMitra services will now be able to extend their services to mothers until their children turn five.

The state government, along with Reliance industries, has announced the introduction of a similar mobile health programme for rest of Maharashtra, that covers 16 lakh mothers. As part of this programme, the health workers coordinating with pregnant mothers will be sent SMS reminders. This mobile technology will also help mothers in rural areas and urban slums.

The government-sponsored mobile health programme will later provide voice calls with health advice to mothers. Dr. Archana Patil, from the Maharashtra Directorate of Health Services, said, ``Thanks to the mother and child tracking system, we have phone numbers of every to-be mothers who have enrolled for antenatal care with us... We will also provide messages about the importance of breastfeeding and immunisations".

Consequently, mobile phones will prove to be useful tools in the fight against childhood malnutrition.

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