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Mobile technology is transforming lives in rural India

Deep in a rural village in India outside the city of Jhansi, children play on dirt roads where goats and cows roam. The humble and colorful homes have mud floors, and women collect drinking water from wells.

All the sights and sounds are quintessential aspects of the region, with the exception of one feature — the use of smartphones to save lives. In this village, women healthcare workers, known as accredited social health activists (ASHAs), use a mobile application called mSakhi to help them educate expecting mothers about maternal and neonatal danger signs.

Funded by Qualcomm Wireless Reach and developed by IntraHealth International, mSakhi is currently being used by 329 ASHAs to benefit 16,000 mothers. A mobile broadband initiative accomplishing such a task in rural India is no small feat.

How can mSakhi scale?

To get the funding needed to scale the mSakhi program, IntraHealth is generating evidence to share with stakeholders — the federal government, state government and donors — that mSakhi is improving the health and well-bring of mothers and children. Meenakshi Jain, IntraHealth senior advisor of programs, says she would like the government to implement mSakhi or any similar application, as long as it empowers frontline health workers to do their jobs better and uses the most recent technology. If IntraHealth is able to bring in more funding, mSakhi will continue to evolve and include technical areas such as family planning and literacy.

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