Project Name: Mobile Academy
Organisation: BBC Media Action
Project Location & Coverage Area: Bihar
Project URL: www.rethink1000days.org/programme-outputs/mobile-academy/
Area of intervention: Health
As per the architectural corrections done in health care service delivery structure under the ambit of NRHM, the community health workers are supposed to play a crucial role in delivering health care information and service delivery to the last mile. But most of the health workers are not adequately skilled and educated. Their capabilities also get limited by the remoteness from the centres of learning and their own financial status.
This gets between the commitment of the community health workers to play role in reducing the maternal and child mortality rates.
BBC Media Action has developed a training course, called Mobile Academy with a support from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to reduce child mortality, improve maternal health and reduce infectious diseases in Bihar, India. Mobile Academy is an audio training course delivered over mobile phones to frontline community health workers (CHWs) to expand and refresh their knowledge of nine life-saving health behaviour, and to enhance their communication skills.
The training material is delivered all across Bihar via Interactive Voice Response (IVR) – a technology that can be accessed from any mobile handset. A health worker can take the course by dialing a short mobile number from any mobile handset. The course is delivered in the voice of an engaging yet authoritative female doctor character named Dr Anita. It consists of nine chapters, 36 lessons and nine quizzes covering nine life-saving behaviorus Health workers receive an accumulative pass or fail score at the end of the course; they can repeat lessons, chapters and quizzes as many times as they like. Health workers can take the course as quickly or slowly as they like. Bookmarking technology remembers where they were when they last hung up, and returns them to this place when they dial again. If they complete the course with a 50 per cent pass mark, they receive a printed certificate from the Government of Bihar.
Reach & Road Ahead
After it’s launched in June 2012, till March 2015 as many as 70,245 unique users have accessed the course of which 40,385 CHWs have completed the course. Bihar has a total of 2,00,000 CHWs. The course is helping dramatically in improving CHW’s interpersonal skills while overcoming problems of limited access of CHWs to training centres due to remoteness, financial status or family obligations.
The training course focusing on maternal and child health has been developed by BBC Media Action, the international development charity arm of the BBC, UK and is being implemented under the Ananya programme of the Bihar government in partnership with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Health workers pay for the 160 minute course themselves. In less than one cent a minute, the total cost is approximately $1.50.