ARMMAN’s International Women’s Day was celebrated in association with the all-girls band INDIVA. This event, held at IES Auditorium Bandra, celebrated the successful ongoing implementation of ARMMAN’s mMitra program at LokmanyaTilak Municipal General Hospital (Sion Hospital), in which 1500 urban poor women have been enrolled till date and are receiving the mMitra voice calls.
The mMitra voice call program is a free mobile phone based health advisory service which provides timed and targeted, culturally appropriate, comprehensive information on preventive healthcare and simple interventions during emergencies directly to pregnant women and mothers through weekly/twice a week automated voice calls. These automated voice calls, which were vetted by FOGSI and eminent pediatricians and translated to Hindi and Marathi, are sent weekly/twice a week directly to the phones of the enrolled women from the first month of pregnancy until her child turns one, in her chosen timeslot.
Going forward, ARMMAN has partnered with the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA)- a public-private partnership between the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Johnson and Johnson, the United Nations Foundation, the mHealth Alliance and Baby Center, to provide mMitra services to 1 million pregnant women and mothers over the next three years. This will start by enrolling women in all municipal hospitals and slums of Mumbai from mid-2014.
Daphne Metland (Editorial Director, Baby Center), Mr. Srinivaas Sirigeri (Managing Director and Trustee, ARMMAN), Dr. Aparna Hegde (Founder, Chairperson and Managing Trustee, ARMMAN), and Chanda Neeraj Kathuria ( Trustee, ARMMAN) inaugurated the event with the auspicious ceremony of lighting the lamp. This was followed by Dr. Aparna’s informative presentation on ARMMAN’s projects of mMitra Voice Call and Animation Service, Arogya Sakhi Home Based Care and Helpline for Emergency Response Operation (HERO).
Here is a message from Dr. Aparna that beautifully sums up ARMMAN’s inception and our goal behind this celebration – “mMitra began from my experiences during my residency at Sion Hospital 10 years ago when I saw closely how lack of access to the right information at the right time, led to many pregnant women, mothers and children losing their lives in very tragic circumstances. On International Women’s day, we would like it to be acknowledged universally that access to information is every woman’s fundamental right. It has the power to awaken her to her other basic human right: access to adequate health care to ensure a healthy life for herself and her children”.
This event also launched ‘Sponsor a Mother’ campaign for mMitra. The campaign hopes to motivate individual donors to contribute Rs. 150 to sponsor the cost of enrolling one mother into the mMitra service. She will receive weekly/ twice a week voice calls from the first month of her pregnancy until her child turns one year. This is a simple way to reach out and empower a mother to make better choices for herself and her child. Access to the right information at the right time is every woman’s right; information that has the power to transform her and her child’s life.
The second half of our event was dedicated to INDIVA’s power packed performance. INDIVA is an all-girls band which includes four extremely talented women, Merlin D’souza, Hamsika Iyer, Vivienne Pocha and Shruti Bhave, who performed a mix of Hindustani, Carnatic, Jazz, Classical and World Music to support the cause ARMMAN is working towards. As the audience applauded and shouted “encore”, the excitement of the evening heightened and the band performed for much longer than they promised.
ARMMAN’s International Women’s Day event was an evening to remember, we hope to celebrate this event each year with similar energy and aura!