The largest mobile-based training programme for health workers in the world that has reached over 334,000 ASHAs (frontline health workers) across 17 states and union territories in India.
Mobile Academy is a Reproductive Maternal Neonatal and Child health training course designed to refresh Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers’ knowledge of life-saving preventative health behaviors, and improve the quality of their engagement with new and expecting mothers and their families. Mobile Academy is implemented in partnership with India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).
At present, the programme uses Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology that is mobile handset independent, audio-based and accessed via a simple voice call. The course includes modules that train the ASHAs to deliver preventive care and referrals for mothers and children, through the stages of pregnancy until the child is two years of age. The course is divided into chapters, lessons and quizzes, and the health workers receive a cumulative pass/fail score at the end.
Mobile Academy is currently available in five languages (Hindi, Oriya, Assamese, Bengali and Telugu).
Training the health workers to navigate inequities
The ASHAs play a vital role in ensuring the effectiveness of healthcare services in India. They hail from the community and understand the culture, geography, weather, beliefs and value systems of their villages and urban neighbourhoods. The ASHAs experience gender disparities worsened by imbalanced power dynamics. They are also acutely aware of the inequities that women, children, and families navigate in their daily lives.
The next version of Mobile Academy (2.0) will be a richer and more personalised product, incorporating multimedia content (including videos, digital posters/images, audios, quizzes and notifications), delivered via multiple delivery channels such as WhatsApp and dedicated app in addition to IVR to enrich the quality and effectiveness of learning for the health workers. Additionally, the programme will build a robust support system to assist the ASHAs through handholding by dedicated supervisors, call centre, and digital channels.