The Mobile App For A Healthier India

Puja Chandra

Abhinav and Shrutika Girdhar, founders of Bodhi Health Education, are pushing the frontiers of healthcare in rural India with a multilingual, e-learning mobile app.

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”- Milton Berle

This adage could well be written for Abhinav and Shrutika Girdhar, founders of Bodhi Health Education, who are pushing frontiers of healthcare in India using innovative and customised e-learning platforms.

Their latest pilot project, a training workshop on ‘Maternal and Child Health’ is currently being conducted in Ladakh, the highest plateau region in India where the team faces freezing cold temperatures, poor internet connectivity and an unfamiliar language.

Neonatal, infant and child mortality rates are high in Ladakh, where complications such as respiratory problems and low-birth weight of infants due to high altitude are commonplace.

Here, the team is collaborating with local instructors, nursing educators and illustrators, working on a video-based mobile app that can work offline as well as a flip-book in Bothi, the local Ladakhi language. 

Given the dfficult geographic terrain, the locals rely on 300 frontline health workers (FHWs), often the only link to health care services. This is why Bodhi's efforts to train them are crucial to 300,000 people living in Ladakh.

The highly pictorial and audio-visual content is offered in regional languages to make complex medical concepts accessible to semi-literate rural women from across the country. The availability of offline access to e-learning platforms also means those with limited internet access are not excluded.

 “We realised that there was good mobile penetration in India so why not leverage that? The basic healthcare services in India needed to be made more competent. We decided to combine the two and provide solutions for an easy and comfortable learning over mobiles and tablets.”- Abhinav Giridhar

These FHW’s share an unrivalled rapport with the community. It's no wonder they are known as the Angels of Health, referring women who are at risk of infections to the closest Health Centre; passing iron supplements to pregnant mothers and convincing parents to get children immunised.

These women are key to improving healthcare in under resourced regions.

The Sustainable Development Goals mandate 2.5 health workers for a population of 1000. A better ratio translates into universal access to reproductive health and a reduction in preventable deaths. By equipping these last mile health workers with right skill sets, Bodhi is positively impacting these health indicators.

“We want to impact the Child and Infant Mortality health indicators. This can only be achieved by training the Frontline Health Worker who is at the bottom of the Health-care Services pyramid. She is crucial to this chain as she knows the community well and enjoys their trust. She is able to convince them and make a positive difference.” – Shrutika Giridhar

To date, Bodhi Health has run pilot projects in the states of Maharashtra and Haryana, directly impacting 1500 FHWs and is making inroads in the northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

It has also ventured into public health hospitals in urban India. 5000 nurses and paramedics of the prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) are currently pursuing a refresher training course designed by Bodhi Health on its e-learning platform. 

With a grant from the DBS Foundation, Abhinav hopes to strengthen their offerings and expand their efforts in tech solutions, gamification development and larger scale collaborative projects.

Shrutika sums it up, The grant will help us reach our goal of training 3000 Frontline Health Workers in the next 12 months and will assist us in taking our services to more remote areas of the Northern and North-Eastern states of India.”

Read more about Bodhi Health Education, one of the finalists at the DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge in 2015 in Social Enterprise Buzz

If you want to find more about socially conscious living in Asia, check out Asia For Good's social enterprise directory.


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