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Thursday , 17 August 2017
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How text messages are saving lives in Assam

Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) is highest in Assam. At 300 in 2011-2013, it is almost double the average MMR in the country. However, things are getting better now, thanks to a nonprofit project called End Maternal Mortality Now (EndMMNow). The project focuses on spreading awareness about cleanliness and hygiene and the rights of pregnant women and nursing mothers, which includes various free services such as free check-ups, blood tests and medicines. However, the main empowerment tool of the project is the text message that is used by affected people to report officials who may deny them access to free government services. The text messages go to the project staff, after which legal action can be taken against the concerned official.

The text message empowerment has become very popular and is now active across 16 tea gardens, villages and public health facilities in two blocks of Sonitpur district. The project is also providing training to new women who can spread the word about the project to launch it at newer locations. Since the launch of the project, more than 230 violations have been reported by paralegals. Investigations are conducted based on the text messages and the matter is also discussed with the block program manager who is in charge of implementing the National Health Mission (NHM).

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