Local community in a rural village of Chitwan district is testing how a simple mobile application could save the lives of mothers.
In remote parts of Chitwan, mostly inhabited by Chepangs, one of Nepal´s highly marginalized communities, poor and illiterate women still hide themselves in bushes to deliver their babies.
In Bachhauli village of Chitwan district, pregnant women do not go to health facilities to know about health condition of their babies. They know whether their babies are healthy without stepping outside their houses. And this has been possible due to Aamako Maya (Mother´s Love) — a mobile application being made famous by a local library.
Jhuwani Community Library, run by local people of Bachhauli village, is now teaching pregnant women how to download and use this application on their mobile. Designed by a Nepali computer engineer, this application has really caught the imagination of local women. They use it to do what is required in neo-natal care.
A woman using the new mobile app Aamako Maya at her home in Chitwan.
“We are just testing it now,” says Ram Prasad Sapkota, coordinator of a committee formed by the library to educate the people about their health. “But, it is turning out to be really effective.” Sapkota says the application, if used across the country, could be a vital tool in Nepal´s campaign to reduce maternal, child and newborn deaths.
To those poor women who cannot afford to have their own mobiles — or illiterate women unable to use mobile applications, local Female Community Health Volunteers (FCHVs) are always ready to help. “It could be either way,” says Sapkota. “Women either learn to use themselves or ask FCHVs to help them benefit from this program.”
In Bachhauli village, all nine FCHVs have been given smart phones, where Aamako Maya application has been installed. They reach out to all pregnant women and keep records of their pregnancy through this application. “At the outset, I found it a little difficult,” says Archana Dawadi, a local FCHV. “But, it no longer troubles me. It is easy and really helpful to all pregnant women and mothers.”
Using Aamako Maya application is not that difficult. All pregnant women need to do is click the application and fill in all information like last date of menstruation. Based on this basic information, they are informed if their babies are alright. Otherwise, they are asked to visit nearby health facilities at the earliest. The application is also being used to educate pregnant women and mothers. The application users have access to audio and video messages regarding dos and don´ts during pregnancy.