Mobile nutrition monitoring
Nearly 15,000 pregnant women and mothers in Bihar, India, will soon be registered and monitored for a nutrition-focused conditional cash transfer using a novel mobile-phone system.
Under the Bihar Child Support Programme (BCSP), women will receive approximately $5 a month throughout pregnancy and until the child is 3 years old, provided they use certain public health services, such as ante-natal check-ups, and comply with appropriate behaviours, such as exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months.
The BCSP, which was designed by OPM and is currently being implemented by the company, is based on a mobile phone application given to frontline service workers, known as Anganwadi Workers. This application allows them to register beneficiaries, record data on service availability, so that beneficiaries are not penalised for not receiving non-available services, and record the services that each beneficiary receives every month.
The mobile phone application improves service delivery in three main ways:
- A growth-monitoring calculation tool that allows Anganwadi Workers to easily diagnose whether a child is severely underweight;
- A repository of behavioural change communication videos that can be played directly to beneficiaries;
- A case-management function that helps the worker calculate what services each of her beneficiaries needs to receive each month. The data collected is then automatically transmitted to a central server. As well as generating instructions for cash transfer payment, the server generates reports on service availability, service delivery, for example the proportion of beneficiaries receiving their entitlements, and outcomes, such as the proportion of children severely underweight.
Each village is put onto a GIS map and the data is displayed visually using a traffic light system for the various indicators. In effect, the system becomes a real-time, village-level nutritional surveillance and performance management system. This allows various tiers of Government workers to monitor the performance of frontline workers, identify where services are deficient for correction, for example if the growth monitoring scales are broken, and direct other interventions, such as emergency nutritional support.
The service is expected to reach 15,000 women by January 2014.