ARMMAN seeks to address the pervasive systemic problems underlying maternal and child mortality and morbidity in India: delay in seeking care, poor accessibility, and quality of care. We adopt a “tech plus touch” approach by leveraging the existing infrastructure and health worker network of the government and partner NGOs, along with the increased access to mobile phones, to improve maternal and child health.
In 2008, Dr. Aparna Hegde founded ARMMAN in response to the avoidable fatalities and disabilities experienced during pregnancy and childbirth that she personally observed while completing her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at one of India’s prominent public hospitals in Mumbai (Maharashtra). She felt compelled to take action to address these critical issues, but realised that traditional solutions for spreading health awareness and health worker training are often resource-heavy, inconsistent, expensive, and not scalable.
It was 1:00 am and I was called to the emergency room to examine Aruna, a 25 year old with gestational diabetes, having her first baby. Aruna had been transferred from Thane civil hospital with her baby’s head delivered, but the body stuck inside, as it was too large to pass through. I will never forget the first sight of her: a beautiful frail young woman with the head of a beautiful dead baby sticking out of her vagina. Aruna died three days later. “Her death will forever stay with me. Not only because she died a most horrible death, but also because it was preventable… She had gone for her first antenatal visit but she had not been counseled about the remaining visits, danger signs, and potential complications. If only she had been…
– Dr. Aparna Hegde, Founder, ARMMAN
ARMMAN leverages the expansive outreach of mHealth (mobile health) and the existing health infrastructure to:
- Provide preventive care information to women through pregnancy and infancy enabling them to seek care in time
- Train and support health workers for timely detection and management of high-risk conditions
Our on-ground experience of 15 years has brought to light the impact of equity and gender disparity on the success of mHealth programmes in maternal and child health.
ARMMAN is proactively embracing equity-based and gender transformative approaches, seamlessly integrating these principles through innovations in our programmes.
We work with women to bring a positive shift in influence within their families and communities. We also support the health workers to negotiate and transform the prevailing patriarchal and gender-related dynamics in the health system.
The essence of our work lies in recognizing that pregnancy and motherhood should not be equated to illnesses, and every mother, neonate, infant, or child deserves access to proper care and support. This aspiration is beautifully encapsulated in our name, ARMMAN, derived from the Hindi word for ‘wish.’ ARMMAN (Advancing Reduction In Mortality And Morbidity Of Mothers, Children And Neonates) embodies our unwavering commitment to improving the health and well-being of mothers and their young ones.