To curb mother-to-child HIV transmission, NGO launches voice interactive service

Under this programme, messages will be sent to women on care to be taken during pregnancy, infancy, right nutrition and reminders on medications

Pic courtesy: Medscape

To reduce the mother-to-child HIV transmission, Mumbai based NGO Armman has launched a voice interactive service for HIV positive expectant mothers in Pune today. It plans to extend this service to Mumbai soon.

“Service is for HIV positive women in antenatal period. It will be provided throughout pregnancy and till the child turns 18-month-old,” said Dr Aparna Hegde, founder and chairperson, Advancing Reduction in Mortality and Morbidity of Mothers, Children and Neonates (Armman).

Hegde said this service has been started with the aim to curb transmission of HIV from mother to child in next two years.

According to Maharashtra State AIDS Control Society (MDACS), every year, more than 3,386 HIV positive pregnant women need anti-retroviral treatment (ART) to prevent their infants from acquiring the virus. In Mumbai, between 2015 and 2016, 215 pregnant women were found to be newly-infected with HIV.

“Messages sent on their mobile phones will include counselling on care that needs to be taken during pregnancy and infancy. It will also guide them on appropriate nutrition, management related to pregnancy and its complications based on government and World Health Organisation guidelines,” said Hegde.

It also has voice reminders for women who have missed their monthly appointments at government clinics to take their medication.

In 2013, Armman had launched a timed and targeted voice messaging service called mMitra for expectant mothers registered with Lokmanya Tilak (Sion) Hospital, Mumbai.

“It is a known fact that patients do not take medicines on time. While some forget, others miss it on purpose. With help of mMitra, we found that adherence rate improved when these women were reminded to take medicines,” said Hegde.

She explained messages are sent in accordance to preferred time given by women.

“We also take into consideration the language preferred by them and month of pregnancy,” said Hegde.