Moreover, the manual updating of the data, carries a risk of being data entered incorrectly and getting corrupted.
Taking into account the issues faced by ANMs and to improve the overall standards of child and maternal health service provision in India and related data collection, the ministry of health and family welfare, government of India, with support from UNICEF, has introduced an android based tablet based application ANMOL.
ANMOL or ANM Online is a solution that aims to bring better healthcare services and better consultation to millions of pregnant women, mothers and newborns in India. ANMOL ends drudgery for ANMs by making their work paperless. The tablet allows them to enter and update the service records of beneficiaries on real time basis, which ensures prompt entry and updating of data. Since it is a completely digitalized process, the high quality of the data and accountability is maintained.
The tablet complements as well the ANM's tasks as counselors, by providing them with readily available information about newborns, pregnant women and mothers in their area. Furthermore, the list of an ANM’s pending tasks gets auto generated.
Apart from these facilities, women and couples can be counselled using audio and videos on ANMOL tablets on subjects like high risk pregnancy, immunisation and family planning. All the data that ANMs put into the tablet, gets updated automatically in the central server. To tackle the internet outages, the tablet works in off-line mode and as soon as the internet connectivity is available, the data gets downloaded to the central server.
"ANMOL is aimed at improving the quality, effectiveness and timeliness of the delivery of quality services, specifically to rural populations, to ensure better healthcare for women and children," says Dr Srihari Dutta Health Specialist with UNICEF India.
"The application aims at bringing awareness to the remotest populations, underserved communities and urban slums and through images and videos, and educating them about initiatives on health, maintenance of good hygiene, basic health care and precautions," adds Dr Srihari Dutta Health Specialist with UNICEF India.
Digital India - A Reality
Sujatha works as an ANM in the Bodapadu Sub-centre in district Vijayawada of Andhra Pradesh. She is one amongst the many ANMs who took part in ANMOL Tablet's pilot program, introduced by the government of India in Andhra Pradesh. Sujatha, like other ANMs, was quite apprehensive about learning the functions of the ANMOL tab and was unsure whether she would be able to operate it properly.
After attending the training sessions conducted by the Indian government and the UNICEF technical support team, Sujatha finds it much easier to use the tablet to key in her data as compared to doing the same in the registers.
"The ANMOL tablet is like my akka (elder sister in Telugu), a constant guiding support that helps me overcome my day-to-day issues," Sujatha says. "It saves me a lot of time. My job has become very easy since I started using it. Now I can solve all my problems myself. I use ANMOL to make better connections with the people in the village and understand their problems better by talking to them," she adds.
Sujatha has gained new confidence as she goes around the village, counselling women and couples using videos and audio facilities of the tab.
On World Health Day this year, the Minister for Health and Family Welfare in India, Mr Jagat Pratap Nadda launched the ANMOL application in front of a huge audience.
"ANMOL will be a revolutionary application that will give a significant boost to improve health services in India," J. P. Nadda said. "The ANMOL application will help implement health programmes successfully at the grassroots level," the minister added.
The government of India plans to roll out ANMOL to all the 293,000 ANMs in a phased manner.