The state health ministry in collaboration with Reliance Foundation and Command Voice Message Service has started a mother-child voice messaging service to help pregnant women get the requisite information on breastfeeding and child care pre and post delivery at their registered mobile numbers.
The service which will be available between 7 pm and 8 pm will give information on how to register with the service among other vital details like precautions, diagnosis and nutrition during the pre and post delivery stage, various women and childcare schemes, institutional delivery and vaccination of the child.
In a similar kind of initiative for Mumbai city, the state health department has started automated voice messages guiding mothers on methods of breast feeding, vaccination, diarrhea, family planning and supplementary nutrition for their children, till the time they turn five. This will help get timely information on nutrition as 70 per cent women in Mumbai particularly suffer from anemia and 39 per cent children are either underweight or suffer from malnutrition.
An MoU has been signed between pharma giant Johnson and Johnson, Tata Trust, NGO Armman and the Maharashtra government. Gradually, the programme will cover other districts that report high cases of malnutrition.
The initiative is a scale-up of the existing Mmitra programme, which currently has 3 lakh women registered to receive advice on maternal and child care across 37 government hospitals and maternity homes in Mumbai.
Under Mmitra, pregnant women receive weekly messages about the health of the foetus, the next sonography appointment and other information about maternal health. Now, mothers will continue to receive audio messages even after childbirth and up to five years, first on a daily basis, then on weekly and gradually on monthly basis.
As per the concept of the programme, the exercise of disseminating information on nutrition and childcare is aimed at catering to the nutritional needs based on the area or location. Being a first of its kind initiative launched in Mumbai, the state health department plans to customise the scheme based on the area/location it caters to as the nutritional needs of the children in Mumbai slums can be different from that of rural areas in Maharashtra.