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The government will launch Kilkari (literally baby noises), a mobile voice message service that delivers weekly messages to families about pregnancy, family planning, nutrition, childbirth and maternal and child care, on Friday. Three other programmes — all banking on technology to provide health outcomes — will be launched simultaneously.
The other applications are m-cessation, to help people quit smoking and other forms of tobacco use, through mobile messages; a missed call-based campaign for TB control; and mobile academy for the training of accredited social health activists (ASHAs).
The database for the Kilkari programme will be taken from the successful Mother and Child Tracking System (MCTS) to monitor pregnant women and babies. As per plans, every woman registered with MCTS will receive weekly messages relevant to the stage of pregnancy and age of the infant. In all, 72 free audio messages, each of about two-minute duration, will reach targeted beneficiaries from the fourth month of pregnancy until the child is a year old.
A similar service is provided at present in parts of Bihar, but it is a paid service.
In the first phase, the Kilkari application is expected to benefit 1.84 crore pregnant women/newborns in Jharkhand, Odisha, UP, Uttarakhand and in some districts of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has provided the mobile phone application for Kilkari and mobile academy; the latter is a 240-minute free training module for ASHAs. RailTel Corporation of India Ltd, a mini ratna company, has been selected to provide data centre services for hosting the apps, while Reliance Communications will provide connectivity.
A toll-free number (1800-11-6666) will be started under the Revised National TB Control Programme. It will provide round-the-clock support for patient counselling and treatment support services.