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Project Name: Mobile Kunji
Organisation: BBC Media Action
Location: Bihar
Project since: 2010
Project URL: http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaaction/where_we_work/asia/india/india_sdp_mass_media.html

The community health worker is crucial human resource to promote maternal health and reduce maternal and infant mortality in a state like Bihar in India. The basic problems faced by the workers across the State in their functions until now included lack of Mobile Kunji_1proper tools through which they could convince the rural families on health prevention and treatment issues. In order to help frontline health workers function better in the state in health care services delivery, they are now provided with an innovative job aid called ‘Mobile Kunji’.

Mobile Kunji is an audio visual job aid for community health workers (ASHAs and AWWs) to use with families that provides information about 9 life-saving maternal and child health behaviors.

The project considered first-of-its kind initiative in the country, is being taken up in eight districts of Bihar, including Patna, under a partnership forged between the Bihar government, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and BBC Media Action (India). With the aid of Mobile Kunji, workers with adequate training use mobile tools to effectively disperse health messages and increases the demand of health services provided by service delivery partners under the newly launched Ananya programme since 2012.

‘Mobile Kunji’ is a pack of 40 well illustrated cards on a ring that communicates important health messages to rural families with the help of graffiti and text. Each card has a unique toll-free short code that when dialed by the health worker from his/her mobile phone, takes the listener (or the audience) to free audio recording that further elaborates the health message that the particular card carries. Each card has its own unique code. The audio message is delivered by a fictional doctor character, Dr Anita. The ‘Kunji’ can be carried all the times and doesn’t require reams of paper or very improved technology, but just a normal mobile handset that has a speaker. This is seen as a low-end technology for high-end gains. The major challenge in the project has been to train about two lakh health workers with the least possible cost involved. For the purpose, a ‘Mobile Academy’ was designed. From 2013, the projects will be implemented in all 38 districts of the state.

Result: Between May 2012 when Mobile Kunji was launched and March 2013, 21, 32,420 minutes of Mobile Kunji content have been played by 89,171 unique users. More than 44,000 community health workers are already using it. Health workers have accessed over 1 lakh minutes of audio content.

About two lakh health workers have been trained on the mobile application.The project is being implemented across all 38 districts in Bihar in next phase.

Project Strength, Weakness, Improvisation & Scalability

  • The project ‘Mobile Kunji’ by BBC Media Action has been implemented in 8 districts of Bihar. This project is aimed at imparting integrated knowledge, self-efficacy, and health practices to counter the growing demands in health sector. The project covers a wide spectrum of health issues. It has enhanced the interpersonal communication to improve the quality of home visits of frontline workers.
  • The project is being scaled up to other districts by 2015. Towards this the State government has already drafted the programme layout for implementation in all districts from 2013.
  • The two key gaps identified were – the frontline workers did not receive any formal training on how to build strong communication with beneficiaries; and there were no material to aid the training.
  • For the project rather than scalability there should be more focus on sustainability and cost.
  • There should be resourcing from community for IVRS and there is a need for collaboration with different government schemes especially in health sector.