A month ago, Kanchan Kumari, a 49-year-old auxiliary nurse midwife (ANM) with Belhara primary health centre in Gaya, used to carry at least 10 registers on her visit to villages for immunisation of children and check-up of pregnant women.
Her work in the district’s Belaganj block hasn’t changed but thanks to her newfound asset, an Android tablet, she does not have to lug registers weighing around 3 to 4kg.
A tablet is a mobile computer with display, circuitry and battery in a single unit. These are equipped with sensors, including camera, microphone, accelerometer and touch-screen with finger or stylus gestures replacing computer mouse and keyboard.
Kanchan is not the only ANM worker taking the help of technology for her work. The 200 and odd ANM workers in Belaganj block and Dagarua block of Purnea, are taking help of Android tablets since last month. Adapting to the changing technology has not only made job easy for these frontline health workers, but also helped ensure their work is error-free.
The initiative to provide them Android tablets was undertaken by Unicef, in collaboration with the health department. A team of technical experts from Unicef trained the workers in handling the tablets and uploading data on the gadget among other functions. The workers have now become capable of operating the tablets on their own. It has also raised their confidence level.
Kanchan told The Telegraph over phone: “Bahut aaram hai. Pura nahi jaan paye hain par kam layak chalana to jaan gaye hain jo ki bahut hai mere liye (Now it has become very comfortable. I have not been able to learn everything but I know how to get my work done, which is enough).”
She added: “Before I got the device, I had told my son, Anand Mohan, that I was going to work on an Android tablet. I told him that I would mess up everything but he encouraged me saying that with proper training, I would be able to handle it. I am surprised that a woman like me whose educational qualification is not so strong (Kanchan is an Intermediate) can also operate a tablet. By using tablet not only I have gained in confidence but this has also helped me earn respect from the villagers.”
Yameen Mazumdar, state chief, Unicef, said: “Earlier, reporting was a tough job for the ANM workers. They have to visit at least eight to 10 villages everyday for work with heavy luggage comprising registers. Doing the job manually means there is scope of human error. The tablets would be definitely very useful for them. The Android tablets gives alerts to workers if the data fed is inconsistent. At present, we have launched this initiative only in the two blocks. If we are successful, we would implement this programme in all the districts.”