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Indian Express
31 October 2010
By Surbhi Khyati
Lucknow, India

TO IMPROVE the maternal mortality ratio and infant mortality rate in Uttar Pradesh, the state Health department under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) plans to start an SMS or voice call alert system for beneficiaries of routine immunisation as well as ante natal and post natal programmes.

To render transparency and better accountability of mother and child tracking programmes under the Jachha Bachha Suraksha Abhiyan launched by the state government earlier this year the individual details of the beneficiaries will also be put online.

The web portal being developed by the National Informatics Centre is expected to be complete by Novemberend. The department is busy completing the master list comprising villages that come under each sub centre of the state. Similar master lists for community and primary health centres have already been prepared.

"Till now, only a summary of the routine immunisation programme, ante natal and post natal care given to women in each district was put online. Once the portal is ready, we will be able to upload individual lists of beneficiaries villagewise, along with their addresses and cellphone numbers," said Sanket Verma, General Manager of NRHM's Management Information System.

"Once we have the contact numbers of villagers, we plan to generate either SMS or voice call alerts one or two days before the next scheduled date for ante natal, post natal care and immunisation drive," he added. This will generate a demand for such services and in turn, improve the performance of ASHAs or ANMs.

In blocks where Internet connection is a problem, the community health centres have been provided funds to upload the data from a cyber cafe. "Once the data is available online, it will be easier for the quality monitors to look into programmes under Janani Suraksha Yojana and other mother and child health programmes. This will also generate automatic monthly plans for the ANMs and ASHAs according to the last fed data," he said.

The website is being developed on the Gujarat model.
"Gujarat has developed an online mother and child tracking programme software called eMamta where details of each pregnant women and her child is put online," said Verma. INFANT MORTALITY RATE: 67 per 1000 live birth MATERNAL MORTALITY RATIO: 440 per 1 lakh birth According to the Coverage Evaluation Survey 2009 conducted by UNICEF, complete immunisation programme for children between 12 to 23 months of age is 40.9 per cent – one of the lowest in the country. Complete ante natal care given to pregnant women is also as low as 12.4 per cent.

"We are aiming at 70 to 80 per cent complete immunisation under Jachha Bachha Suraksha Abhiyan," said Dr S P Ram, Director General of Health and Family Welfare.

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