‘Kilkari’ to improve maternal & child health

Implemented in partnership with MoHFW, IVR-based service sends free audio healthcare messages to beneficiaries
Andhra Pradesh has made significant strides in improving maternal and child health by implementing two innovative programs including Kilkari.
Andhra Pradesh has made significant strides in improving maternal and child health by implementing two innovative programs including Kilkari. Photo | express

VIJAYAWADA: Andhra Pradesh has made significant strides in improving maternal and child health through Kilkari and Mobile Academy programmes.

Being implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), these initiatives are transforming healthcare delivery by providing vital information and training to new mothers and healthcare workers.

The Health and Family Welfare Department and ARMMAN took the initiative to implement Kilkari, an IVR-based mobile health service designed to deliver free, weekly, and time-appropriate audio messages about pregnancy, childbirth, and childcare directly to families’ mobile phones.

The service spans from the fourth month of pregnancy until the child is one-year-old, comprising 72 messages aimed at enhancing knowledge, shifting attitudes, and building self-efficacy among pregnant women, new mothers, and their families.

The process begins when a pregnant woman or mother of the child registers her pregnancy with an Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) or Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM). Once her data is entered into the Reproductive Child Health (RCH) database, she automatically begins receiving Kilkari messages. As of February 8, Kilkari is live in 20 States and UTs, with over 40 million subscribers and more than 515 million minutes of content heard.

Speaking to TNIE, K Indira from Kovvada village in Govindapuram PHC of Vizianagaram district said, “Receiving Kilkari messages has been a blessing for me and my family. The information is timely and has greatly helped me take better care of my child. I feel more confident and informed about my health and my baby’s needs.”

Various measures have been adopted to enhance the impact of Kilkari, including integrating Kilkari information into the Maternal and Child Protection (MCP) card, distributing recorded audio/video messages to health facilities, posters exhibited in the facilities and Anganwadi centres and conducting wall painting activities in five districts.

A district/facility-level review with ASHA nodal team on the Kilkari listenership trend, and capacity-building training sessions for ASHAs, ANMs, and other health workers have been conducted to ensure effective delivery and utilisation of the service. Mobile Academy is another critical initiative, providing an IVR-based mobile training course to refresh ASHAs’ knowledge of maternal and child health.

Accessible by dialling a toll-free number, the course is 240 minutes long, divided into 11 chapters with multiple-choice quizzes. Successful completion of the course, with a score of at least 50%, earns ASHAs a certificate from the Government of India.Since its rollout in Andhra Pradesh in January 2023, the programme has seen remarkable participation, with 37,497 ASHAs completing the course within 18 months and 100% ASHAs graduated in seven districts. The State has achieved an 87% completion rate, with aims to reach 100% by June 2024. Mobile Academy is available in five languages, ensuring broader reach and comprehension.

Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health additional director Dr Anil Kumar highlighted the programme’s impact and stated, “The Kilkari and Mobile Academy initiatives have significantly improved the reach and quality of healthcare information. Our goal is to ensure every mother and child in Andhra Pradesh has access to this vital information and listenership improvement.

These programmes contribute to improved family planning, reproductive, maternal, neonatal, and child health, immunisation as well as better nutrition, sanitation, and hygiene.”.

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