Uttarakhand has complex scenarios and topographical challenges in the remote hill areas. It gets challenging for front line health workers, ASHAs (Accredited Social Health Activist) to reach out to the population and motivate them towards adoption of healthy practices. Their responsibilities include conducting routine Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health (MNCH) activities and keeping their skills updated. In particular, ASHAs’ lack of access to health care information, refresher training, supportive supervision, and user-friendly job aids ceases their ability to contribute to improved maternal and newborn health outcomes.
The literacy level of ASHAs is largely up to junior high school level. The severity of the challenge increases when these frontline health workers or ASHAs have to document the data and statistics. The cumbersomeness often delays and distorts the process of service delivery for them. Addressing the needs of data collection, compilation and communication requires a certain set of skills. These skills need regular up gradation through trainings and extensive information for effective implementation and better supervision.
India has made rapid strides in utilizing mobiles as a tool for gathering and sharing information. The efforts are directed towards easy availability of information gathering and dissemination for the end user. In an effort to bring the technology to good use mobiles will be used to support ASHA. RDI in collaboration with IntraHealth International, are implementing mobile-based mSakhi intervention in selected blocks of Pauri Garhwal of Uttarakhand. mSakhi, is an app on smartphone as a job-aid developed by IntraHealth specifically for front line workers. The project is intended to demonstrate evidence and support to the Government of Uttarakhand to adopt mHealth tools for front line workers in the state.
The project will demonstrate mSakhi by deploying the existing application in one block (Dugadda of Pauri district) of Uttarakhand. mSakhi will support front line workers to schedule home visits and provide counselling to pregnant women and mothers up to 42 days and children below two years. A new mSakhi module for ASHA facilitators will also be developed to facilitate their work.
Additionally, the project will train ASHAs and supervisors in one selected comparison block (Yamkeshwar of Pauri district) in the use of existing paper-based job aids and collect baseline and end line data to demonstrate the effectiveness of the mHealth tool as compared to the use of existing paper-based tools by front line workers.