Mumbai emergency room: New online system to track family planning finds encouraging results

A three-month review done at the corporation’s health department recently found out that the new automated system has removed a lot of problems associated with the earlier coordinating systems, including nuisance callers.

Written by Smita Nair | Mumbai | Published: July 28, 2016 1:48:28 am

AS PART of its comprehensive pre-natal maternity care programme, the municipal corporation has, since April 2016, started a new eRegistry called RCH, which stands for Reproductive Child Health.

A three-month review done at the corporation’s health department recently found out that the new automated system has removed a lot of problems associated with the earlier coordinating systems, including nuisance callers.

The biggest challenge, says Padmaja Keskar, Executive health officer at Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), was to enlarge the pool of beneficiaries. With the new system, the eRegistry works to spot “new eligible couples”, instead of just mothers.

This is how the system works. The BMC has 204 health posts, which have outreach volunteers and health staff who do community-based surveys for newly married couples.

“They form our first beneficiary,” says Keskar. The system then keeps a track on them, and when the woman is ready to conceive, the health post starts sending alerts through messages on all the required health tests, and check-up dates as per the woman’s maternity schedule. The messages are specific, and also include the number and contact detail of the nurse or volunteer assigned to the mother.

According to officials, the idea of the new system has shown results as it also looks to train couples on the use of temporary and permanent contraceptives after a delivery is complete. If the couple so wishes, further training is given on various aspects of child-rearing.

Earlier, with no uniformity, there was also lack of data operators and it led to many problems.

“Further the message were not properly worded. Sometimes, the messages reached the female in the middle of the night as it is automated and created problems between the couple. We have had a few cases ever reported to us,” says Keskar adding, “Our women volunteers too started calling in as they would receive few nuisance calls.”

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The system now has been streamlined, ensuring messages are sent at the right time, with only the rank of the health worker mentioned and no gender or name specified.

Each message has a medical direction, deadline and a contact detail of a health volunteer assigned to each mother.
The messages post delivery are on vaccines that a child needs to be given and it has reminders set for a period of five years. While the basic ones only state the details of the closest venues, the serious ones are also followed up by the volunteers, who are looped in on the same message.

“In the end, we can have all sorts of eRegistries. The emphasis from our end is to educate the women. They need to be aware of all the facilities available to them to make an informed choice. Our outreach programme is also active where volunteers go door-to-door to train, inspect and track. But a simple message in today’s time helps as every one has a mobile phone and timely intervention helps,” adds Keskar.

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