Using Mobile Technology To Deliver
Maternal And Child Health Care In India

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PHOTO CREDIT: Gurmeet Sapal

Martha Darling

Martha has held a variety of nonprofit leadership roles since retiring from the Boeing Company. She is a member of the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, has consulted on education policy for the National Academy of Sciences, and has chaired the boards of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation. In 1977, Martha was appointed as a White House Fellow by President Jimmy Carter, serving at the US Treasury. Following graduate school at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School, she was based in Paris as a freelance cross-national policy consultant to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

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women engaged by community-based "Pro Agents"


community-based "Pro Agents" trained


"Tiko" cards sold to women offering discounts and points on health products

The Issue

Pregnancy and childbirth can pose a significant risk to the health of mothers and their babies in developing countries.

High-quality, affordable maternal health services are not reaching many women in India, in large part due to social norms related to persistent gender inequality, lack of information, long distances to health facilities, and an under-resourced health system. The vast majority of deaths from complications in pregnancy and childbirth are preventable with access to health products and services.

Pilot And Learn

This project will test a model for enhancing the system of delivering health products and services for mothers and their babies through a mobile phone-based platform and a network of women entrepreneurs.

PSI is piloting a solution that links pregnant women and new mothers to health products, services and information through a network of community based female entrepreneurs and health facilities, which are all connected through a low-tech mobile phone service called Triggerise. Through mobile phones, expectant mothers receive personalized information and reminders about maternal health services, including ante- and postnatal care visits, and incentives in the form of virtual currency that can be redeemed for rewards ranging from groceries to phone credits. A network of female entrepreneurs deliver health information and products, such as contraceptives and nutritional supplements, to women where they live.

Leverage And Scale

With a third of Indian women owning a mobile phone, such technology has huge potential to expand access to essential health information, products, and services.

The Government of India has shown considerable interest in innovative approaches to improving the delivery of maternal and child health care. There is potential to scale up across India and to other countries with proof that a mobile phone-based health care delivery network and voucher program can improve use of essential maternal health services and products.