In 2019, the Meghalaya government launched an innovative way to track the health of expectant mothers and ensure safe deliveries of infants across the state.
The MOTHER app, an application used for collecting data on pregnant women, has since its launch ensured an increase in institutional delivery and a positive decline in the state’s Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR). What this app has been able to do seamlessly is integrate real-time data from the field collected and inputted by ANMs to doctors and health officials at the district and state level who can track the pregnancy progress of expectant mothers displayed in the dashboard of the MOTHER app.
“Previously, monitoring the health of expectant mothers was difficult due to the non-availability of timely data, and the data that we had was sometimes inconsistent since it was collected in papers or registers,” said Ramkumar S, Additional Secretary to the Health and Family Welfare Department.
Initially piloted in South West Garo Hills, the MOTHER app led to an increase in institutional delivery from 44 percent to 76% percent within six months before it was rolled out statewide.
Using the MOTHER app on their phones, ANMs collect key data about pregnant women, including age, risk factors, expected delivery dates, vaccination dates, last checkup information, address, and contact information.
The same information is displayed on the app and can be used by medical officers and frontline health workers to follow up with high-risk and expectant mothers.
Dr Tyngshain Sutnga, Medical Officer, Bhoirymbong CHC, checks the MOTHER app dashboard several times a day for updates after which he ensures to check in with high-risk expectant mothers in his area to remind them when their checkups are due and help them prepare for birth.
He further stated that “the MOTHER app recently helped to save the life of a high-risk pregnant woman who refused to opt for institutional delivery.” This case was highlighted as a high-risk pregnancy in the app after the data was inputted by the ANM. She contacted the high-risk mother three days prior to her due date and sent the ASHA worker to visit her.
The mother delivered one day after the expected date of delivery and had a retained placenta. Fortunately, the family of the high-risk mother were able to contact the ASHA who visited her earlier that day, the CHC was alerted and the doctor sent an ambulance immediately to her residence and she was brought to the hospital in the nick of time. This is just one example of how the app helps save mother’s lives, according to Dr Sutgna.
The data collected through the MOTHER app is made available to the public on a dashboard through www.meghealth.in. This data helps to monitor the health of expectant mothers thereby reducing maternal mortality.
The MOTHER app has proven to be a boon for Meghalaya. Using this approach, the government has been able to draft various policies and implement initiatives like the Chief Minister Safe Motherhood Scheme that are needed to decrease the state’s MMR.
Currently, the data from the app is helping the government implement Meghalaya’s Measurable Outcomes in Transforming Health Sector through a Holistic Approach focusing on Women EmpoweRment (MOTHER).
(PHOTO: Dr Tyngshain Sutnga, Medical Officer, Bhoirymbong CHC, checks the MOTHER app for updates)