Case Study

Healthcare intervention on mother and child care in Haveri districts of North Karnataka

Shruti had already delivered her baby at home when she came in contact with iKure community worker. She was suffering from a critical health condition that needed immediate doctor’s intervention. Shruti’s interaction with the health worker helped her with the timely support that saved her life. Shruti’s case is common, as women belonging to rural communities in India suffer high risk pregnancies due to ignorance, illiteracy and social barriers that cripple access to critical care. In view of these challenges, iKure in partnership with DeshPande Foundation has organised 3 health camps in 15 villages of Haveri District, Karnataka. Deploying community health workers, the intervention focuses on extending access to critical information that alters the care seeking behaviour of the pregnant women, their husband, family members and the community.

Community Health Workers’ Approach

Sujay Santra, Founder & CEO also a Ashoka Fellow talks about the innovative approach his rural venture tackles, “Like any other healthcare intervention we just do not provide primary care but through cadre of trained health workers we counsel and educate the pregnant women and newly mothers on various health aspects that are inextricably linked to reduce maternal and infant deaths. For this, we conduct community mobilization and health awareness camps where our CHW interact one-to-one to sensitize the patients on critical issues related to motherhood”.

The organization’s novel approach combines real time technology innovation called Wireless Health Incident Monitoring System (WHIMS). Recently bagging an exclusive coverage in eHealth Magazine, the venture is filling the workforce and infrastructure gap leveraging WHIMS (eHealth, 10 Dec, 2015).

WHIMS is a cloud hosted technology that effectively tracks women at the last mile despite of ground challenges. When carried on smart phone devices, WHIMS provides accurate and timely information about pregnancy, and child birth, generate alerts in real-time, and tertiary link to a hospital. Based on the health data captured on WHIMS portal, and inputs from doctors, the iKure CHWs counsel them and the decision makers of the household (husbands, mothers-in-law) about the importance of regular check up and to seek institutional care.

In India, rural initiatives deployed by policy makers and development agencies focus on provision of curative and preventive services. iKure led CHW approach undertaken in Haveri ensures full range of information requirement services to mother and children.

Building trust with the village residents is the key determinate to motivate patients like Shruti. “We have to build a rapport with the patients as they don’t open up in first couple of visits” says Naggama, a health worker of iKure who counselled the villagers so effectively that despite of proper transportation, the village residents attended the camps in full swing.

However, these health workers take the ownership to shift the behaviour of the community & approach not to give up easily reflects the rigorous training exercises of iKure. Renuka, a iKure health worker shares her experience through iKure training programme. She says, “I was initially not at all confident about my work, but after repetitive training, I am able to execute both clinically and technologically and enjoy my work more than any thing else”.

iKure’s healthcare model is one of its kinds in rural healthcare sector. Identified as one of the ‘Kolkata’s Best Start up’ by The Times of India, the methodical process adopted by the venture to disseminate information through CHW is a effective way to counter the lack of resources at the BOP level.

The success of the mother and child healthcare intervention in Haveri reflects the changing behaviour of the rural residents. iKure’s innovative approach that combines expertise with empowerment is effectively bridging the gap in healthcare delivery in rural India. iKure team is also working with University of Michigan to reduce maternal deaths and serve the wide population in rural Bengal.

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