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BBC Media Action

BBC Media Action

Harnessing the power of media. Effecting positive change. One community health worker at a time

BBC Media Action seeks to drive positive social change through the power of media and communication. They want to harness the power of mass media, and use it to support and benefit humanitarian work where it’s needed most.

In the state of Bihar, India, they are equipping community health workers with more effective training and job aids – using mobile phones.

Bihar is the third most populous state in India – and one of the poorest. Recognizing the impact of low literacy in Bihar, BBC Media Action wanted to deliver training and job aids in the form of audio rather than written content.  

Partnering with ThoughtWorks, they customised and interfaced MOTECH (an mHealth platform) with their audio content delivery system. VoiceXML and NoSQL among other technologies, make it easy for health workers to find and use the content they need.

“Mobile Academy” is a set of 3-hour audio courses on nine life-saving topics. Health workers listen and interact using their mobile phones when convenient, with the system bookmarking their progress so they can easily stop and restart.  

“Mobile Kunji” is a job aid to support community health workers in becoming more credible when delivering healthcare advice.

Both systems are inexpensive to operate, and are scalable for a growing population of health workers.

The regular training is chaotic. But now I can listen to the training on mobile very peacefully. Before, if I had questions, I had to go on foot to the Primary Health Centre. Now I can learn on mobile.” 

Community Health Worker, 25, Patna

Around 27,000 users have started the training course since May 2012, listening to 2.3 million minutes of educational content. The course is expected to be taken by up to 200,000 community health workers over the next three years. As of April 2013, over 85,000 unique users have accessed the Mobile Kunji.