How mobile technology is transforming lives in rural India

Deepak, 22/02/2017

All the sights and sounds are quintessential aspects of the region, with the exception of one feature - the utilization of cell phones to save lives. In this village, women healthcare workers known as authorize social wellbeing activists (ASHAs), utilize a Mobile application called mSakhi to help them instruct expecting moms about maternal and neonatal peril 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.

Addressing the digital divide, low literacy and poor connectivity

According to the national health ministry, India’s newborn mortality rate stands at 29 per 1,000 live births.
A background paper done by the New York-based International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity revealed in October of last year that only 48 percent of India girls studying up to the fifth grade are literate.

As for internet connectivity, according to a Pew Research Center poll, a mere 22 percent of India’s adults could get online in 2015.

That being stated, there are across the nation endeavors being made to get individuals associated. The region's Digital India program plans to carefully enable residents and give broadband in remote areas. As a major aspect of this plan, the government wants to make Mobile availability accessible in more than 40,000 towns by 2018.

In the meantime, mSakhi is still able to have an impact, because the application is designed to manage low connectivity. The data that’s fed into mobile devices is stored offline. When there’s a network that’s available, the data is then uploaded to a server.

Supporting midwives in the field

The mSakhi application additionally bolsters assistant medical attendant birthing specialists (ANMs) working in the field. Anita VT is an ANM who has worked in the town wellbeing place throughout the previous 20 years, enrolling patients, conveying infants and immunizing kids. While the office she works in is close to a little live with a couple of manual devices, the portable innovation she utilizes brings a part of the procedure into the 21st century.

The government of India has a program across the county where every pregnant mother has to go into an online system,” she explains. “It’s the duty of frontline workers like ASHAs and midwives to make this happen. So they have the job of identifying and registering pregnant women. The catch is that they have to fill out forms, and then travel 10-20 km, sit with a data entry operator at a community health center, and then get the data fed into the computer. What mSakhi does is it saves a lot of paper time

Making micro-loans faster and more efficient

About 450 kilometers from Jhansi, the nonprofit Planned Social Concern (PSC) is providing micro-finance opportunities to women in a village outside the city of Jaipur.
A number of PSC’s micro-finance participants are able to build their own small businesses. One of the women in the program says she was able to build a new home and send her kids to school, thanks to PSC.
 
My wish is that large tech firms will take cues from these mobile for impact programs  and make comparative activities for poor parts in the Western world, also.

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How mobile technology is transforming lives in rural India
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The number of mobile Internet users in India is projected to double and cross the 300 million mark by 2017 from 159 million users at present,
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462,124,989 Internet Users in India (2016*) Share of India Population: 34.8 % penetration) Total Population : 1,326,801,576 Share of World Internet Users: 13.5 % Internet Users in the World: 3,424,971,237
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However, rural India is seeing a drop in usage of Internet for online communication, giving space to entertainment and social networking as the leading categories. According to the report, gaming through social-networking sites has picked up fast with 36% of the user base, up from 21% in the last year. On the entertainment side, 80% users consume multimedia content, up 33% from last year

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