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Over the course of last decade, significant evidence has been generated about effectiveness of community based interventions which can reduce maternal, newborn, and child mortality and morbidity. To facilitate implementation of the proven interventions, a new cadre of village based Community Health Workers, called Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA), has been created under the aegis of the National Rural Health Mission (NHRM). Many of the community based maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) interventions are expected to be delivered or facilitated by ASHA during her scheduled home visits. Unfortunately, evaluations examining ASHA’s performance have noted that coverage of selected MNCH interventions to be implemented by ASHA is suboptimal. Some of the critical reasons for low coverage is inadequate support and supportive supervision of ASHAs inadequate information about performance, delay and insufficient payment of incentives, poor knowledge and skills of ASHAs, quality of training, and complexity of tasks to be performed. Also, timely identification of sickness / complications and risk screening among large numbers of maternal, newborn and child cases is much to be desired and many do not reach to appropriate health facility. The non-availability of real time information about such cases to respective Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANMs) and medical officers has limited their ability to respond; hence, such complicated cases at home tend not to receive appropriate care.
ImTeCHO is an innovative strategy to overcome above problems by using mobile phone technology (called mHealth solutions) to empower ASHAs. ImTeCHO will be used in 3 ways:
ImTeCHO is an innovative mobile phone application to improve performance of ASHAs through better supervision, support and motivation for increasing coverage of proven maternal, newborn and child health interventions among resource-poor settings in India. ImTeCHO stands for “Innovative mobile-phone Technology for Community Health Operations”. “TeCHO” in Gujarati language means “support”; therefore, “ImTeCHO” means “I am support”. As its name indicate, ImTeCHO is aimed to provide support to all involved in ASHA programme starting from ASHAs to PHC staff to higher level officials so that their job is easier, and more effective.
- Mobile phone as a job aid (ImTeCHO) to ASHAs to increase coverage of maternal, newborn and child care
- Mobile phone as a job aid (ImTeCHO) to ASHAs and Auxiliary Nurse Midwives to facilitate referral and care for mother, newborn and child with complications
- Web interface as job-aid (ImTeCHO) to PHC staff for monitoring and supporting ASHA program, including timely ASHA incentive payment, supply management, ASHA performance report, and accurate reporting of births and deaths.