ARMMAN wins share of GSK & Save the Children Healthcare Innovation Award

The organization has been awarded $115,000 (approximately Rs 74 lakhs) to provide preventive healthcare information to over one million pregnant women and mothers of children under five years of age

(L to R) Mr Thomas Chandy CEO Save the Children, Dia Mirza, Mr A Vaidheesh VP South Asia & MD GSK presenting the cheque to Dr Aparna Hegde Founder Armman on winning the Health Innovation Award.
New Delhi: ARMMAN has been awarded $115,000 (approximately Rs 74 lakhs) to scale-up their customised free mobile voice call service, mMitra. The service provides tailored preventive healthcare information to pregnant women and mothers of children under five years of age.
mMitra has enrolled over one million women across seven states in India since their pilot programme was launched in 2013 in Mumbai. With the award money, ARMMAN will expand the mMitra programme to cover an additional 2.2 million pregnant women and mothers across India, with a major focus in Madhya Pradesh. 
ARMMAN is one of four organisations to have won a share of the fourth annual Healthcare Innovation Award from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Save the Children’s partnership. The mobile service was celebrated today at a roundtable discussion with stakeholders, policymakers and Save the Children’s Artist Ambassador, Dia Mirza, marking the first time an Indian NGO has won the Healthcare Innovation Award.
Although 75 per cent of neonatal deaths are preventable, there are still more than 700,000 newborns every year in India who do not live beyond their first 28 days. Furthermore, India accounts for 20 per cent of the global preventable maternal deaths. A major factor contributing to these deaths is the lack of accessible preventive care information, particularly within the hardest-to-reach communities.
With one billion mobile phone subscribers, India is an ideal setting for a mHealth innovation. ARMMAN therefore leverages this opportunity to provide pregnant women and mothers with preventive care information in order to help reduce maternal, infant and child mortality in urban and rural communities of India.
The service is unique as it provides calls, which are tailored to the woman’s gestational age or to the age of her child. The service is also delivered in the woman’s chosen language and time slot.
Dia Mirza, Artist Ambassador, Save the Children: “Children have the right to survival, food and nutrition, health and shelter. It is unacceptable that in 2017, millions of children around the world still do not have their right to be safe, learn, grow and play. We must, and we can, do better than this. By investing in innovations that support children’s health and well-being, such as through the Healthcare Innovation Award, change is possible. Childhood should be a safe time of life for growing, learning and playing.”
Thomas Chandy, Chief Executive Officer, Save the Children in India: “Poor maternal health and under-five mortality remain challenging issues throughout India. A major underlying reason for this is that health care services do not reach the most marginalised sections of society. We are therefore proud to celebrate the mMitra service, which succeeds in supporting even the hardest-to-reach women and children.”
Dr. Aparna Hegde, Founder and Managing Trustee, ARMMAN: “We are honoured to receive this Award in recognition of our efforts. I have personally seen how lack of access to preventive care information during pregnancy and post-delivery can lead to loss of lives, something which is preventable. mMitra is our effort to take life-saving information directly to the woman when she needs it. We are grateful to GSK and Save the Children and will use the support from this Award to expand our intervention to 2.2 million women across urban and rural communities by 2019.”
A. Vaidheesh, Vice President, South Asia & Managing Director, GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Ltd.: “TheHealthcare Innovation Award was founded on the premise that those closest to a health issue are most suited to design solutions to them. ARMMAN’s innovation is illustrative of this as it delivers tailored preventive care information to promote behaviour change amongst pregnant women and mothers across India. We are proud to see ARMMAN receive India’s first everHealthcare Innovation Award. We are certain this will give them a further impetus to improve and build on their innovation and help save lives.”
The Healthcare Innovation Award will help support ARMMAN in expanding their intervention to enrol 2.2 million women in ten major cities across India. A customised malnutrition programme and a specialised service for HIV-positive pregnant women will also be added to mMitra this year.