Project Director – MNH, IntraHealth
Amod Kumar, an Indian Administrative Services officer of the 1995 . He has held several positions at UP government, including Special Secretary, Basic Education & Director Mid-day-Meal, Special Secretary, Revenue, Special Secretary, I.T. (Information Technology). On a few years leave, currently, he is working on the capacity of Project Director, Maternal and Newborn Health Project -Manthan Project-IntraHealth. Pratap Vikram Singh finds out details of the project.
Can you throw light on the ICT systems deployed for monitoring of mid-day meal scheme in UP, while your association with the State Mid-Day Meal Authority?
During my association with the mid-day meal authority, we developed a system to monitor the mid day meal scheme with the help of cloud telephony. For its monitoring in all the 1.5 lakh schools in the state of Uttar Pradesh, the department gives IVRS calls to all the teachers through which the teachers are asked for the number of students who took meals on that particular day. Almost1800 calls are made parallely. By evening the department gets data for all the schools.
Initially, the teachers are informed that the call is being made on behalf of the mid-day meal authority. It asks the teacher to punch in the number of students who were served the meal that day. If the teacher punches in zero, he is given four reasons and told to punch in the appropriate number. The reasons are: 1.Cook was absent; 2. Non availability of raw material for cooking; 3. Transportation problems; and 4. Other reason. The responses are simultaneously recorded on the website of the mid-day meal authority.
The BSAs can go to website, choose respective blocks/district and check the daily meal reports. All this is done in Hindi language. Now, the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development is deliberating on scaling up the monitoring project across all states and UTs.
Could you please elaborate on the work being done in the health sector in the state of Uttar Pradesh by IntraHealth?
Manthan Project is a $4 million initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It aims to improve the health of mothers and newborns in northern India. Among other Indian states, Uttar Pradesh has the highest percentage of maternal and neonatal deaths in India. With a duration of four-years, this project will work with the Uttar Pradesh state government to identify proven, effective mother and neonatal health (MNH) interventions, advocate at district, state, and national levels to promote the adoption and scale-up of these interventions, and expand health care services to more mothers and newborns.
We see ICT as a vital tool for efficient delivery of health care services. Although leveraging ICT is still at a conceptual stage, we would be using ICT in three – four ways.
• To reach to the ultimate client – through SMS, education on remedies and behavioural change.
• Direct IVRS calls giving reminders about the precautions and timely intake of medicines
• To educate and remind the Asha workers (the health care workers in the state) through the use of multimedia-smart phones, which is now available at a much cheaper price. We can store a video on educating the workers and aiding them in better counseling.
• Better monitoring through generation of management information systems (MIS) reports. Through ICT, we can gather, de-duplicate and analyse the data in a better fashion, with an ultimate objective of use of data in planning. Fortunately, because of RSBY, one of the government’s flagship programmes, we have the base line data.
Since the work involves research, advocacy and aiding government in planning and decision making, we have not sketched figures for assessing project outcomes. The outcome could be gauged in the degree of receptiveness in the government and the subsequent efficiency and equity created at the grassroots level.