India is home to the largest number of illiterate women in the world. Over 3.7 million girls are out of school. Girls in India average less than four...
India has impressive mobile and internet connectivity, with close to a billion mobile phones and over a million broadband connections across the country. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) therefore can address key informational and process challenges to RMNCH+A in India. Dasra’s report, Life Line, lays out the key challenges and solutions to tapping into this technology to improve maternal, newborn and child health.
Many systemic health challenges in India can be solved by technology-based solutions, such as patient adherence to health protocols. Technology can also assist in data collection and health supply chain management. Overall, ICTs can increase access to information, improve data collection and analysis, and process efficiency. For example, using SMS for behavior change communication has led to 25% cost savings, 20% increase in facility-based deliveries, and improvements in breastfeeding practices in Indonesia, Pakistan, and the Philippines.
Life Line identifies technology interventions by social organizations, particularly those that serve end-beneficiaries, to assist in health education, behavior change and demand generation; create reminders and alerts for improved adherence to treatment; and provide training and development. The report outlines how ICTs should be leveraged to enhance the performance of India’s frontline health workers who, as patients’ first and sometimes only point of contact with the health system in rural areas, they are the key to improving the health of mothers and children. There are also open source and cost effective technology solutions that are able to be continuously improved on based on user feedback.