Share & Care Blog

Here we share news about our various programs, events, and progress reports important to our mission and to our supporters.

How H2U is Expanding Access to Lifesaving Healthcare in Rural India

New ImTeCHO Initiative Uses Smartphones to Reach More of the Unreachable

Map showing the state of Gujarat on the west coast of India.Our Healthcare 2 Unreached Signature Program brings lifesaving care to people in remote areas of rural India, with a focus on decreasing maternal and infant mortality. We’re proud to say that we’ve seen successful results in the areas we’ve reached so far.

Recently, we joined forces with SEWA Rural, a Gujarat-based NGO with whom we’ve partnered in the past, to further broaden our areas of impact.

In 2013, the NGO (in partnership with the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of Gujarat) launched a technology-driven health initiative known as “ImTeCHO.” Through the use of cell phones and a custom healthcare app, the initiative benefited nearly 20,000 people in 600 villages in just three years. Share & Care has committed to helping expand ImTeCHO, and with our involvement, it is estimated to reach 3,000 villages and benefit 110,000 lives.


An ASHA shares a view of her smartphone and the ImTeCHO app with a young mother and her baby.

The ImTeCHO app at work in remote areas of Gujarat.


How the ImTeCHO Initiative Works

ImTeCHO stands for “Innovative Mobile Phone Technology for Community Health Operations.” In this project, trained social health activists — known as ASHAs — make home visits to families in poor, tribal areas, and use smartphones to deliver and document maternal, newborn, infant, and child care. The software application for ImTeCHO is based on the Android platform and includes custom, healthcare-specific inputs.


ASHA smiling and holding her smartphone as she enters the home of a patient in rural India.

Accredited social health activists — known as ASHAs — are using smartphones to deliver care to more women, men, newborns, infants, and children, all of which are already showing lower morbidity rates.


The ImTeCHO app provides each ASHA with a daily home visit schedule. During visits, the ASHA uses the app to submit and gather information to and from offsite health care providers. The trained ASHA will administer medicine or provide other basic services when needed. In the case of an emergency, the consulting doctor may decide to send an ambulance to the home.

Results

Approximately 10,000 pregnant women and 9,000 newborn infants, predominantly from tribal communities, benefit each year from ImTeCHO. The initiative has increased the rates of institutional delivery, early and exclusive breastfeeding, and home-based newborn care in the project areas, and has reduced infant and maternal mortality by 25%. Findings show that it has improved the overall effectiveness of government health workers as well.

ImTeCHO has received two national-level awards and gained international attention from the peer-reviewed journal World Health Action.

How Share & Care Is Helping

In the next phase of the project, Share & Care will provide performance incentives to further increase the effectiveness of the ASHAs. Performance refers to factors such as the number of cases handled, response times, and the amount and types of preventative care administered.

With our involvement, the total villages and individuals that will benefit from ImTeCHO — that is, the number of people who will have access to healthcare for the very first time — will increase fivefold. Our efforts will focus on the tribal areas of the Bharuch, Valsad, and Narmada districts, and will work in tandem with approximately 20 primary health centers.


A village family in Gujarat sitting on the floor while an ASHA accesses the ImTeCHO app on a smartphone.

Through the use of technology, more people in a wider geographical area can be effectively reached and treated.


The Power of Your Contribution

The basic cost of training one ASHA is $250, and the cost of providing care to one woman or child through ImTeCHO is just $8.

This project has already made a positive difference in thousands of lives, but as we well know, there is much more work to be done. To support the continuation of ImTeCHO — and to provide vital care for thousands more who need our help — please consider making a donation to our Healthcare 2 Unreached Signature Program. You could save a life.


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