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Aponjon’ is like a caring family member to Nasima

“I find all the information of ‘Aponjon’ very useful as they talk about my own good”, says Nasima Khatun, a 27-year old housewife living with her husband and two sons in a crowded slum of Vashantek, Mirpur in Dhaka city. Her husband, who works at a factory in gazipur, is the only income source of the family. Their household expenditure is about BDT 10,000 (USD 120) per month.

Nasima came to know about the ‘Aponjon’ service from a Shashtho Kormi (health worker) who visits her and gives her consultation for postnatal and child care. The Aponjon service is created under the umbrella of Moblie Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA)/Bangladesh initiative, which is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), US Government’s premier development agency and also supported by private donors such as and Johnson and Johnson. Under the ‘Aponjon’ program, expecting and new mothers, husbands and mothers-in-law will receive pre-programed voicemail and text messages on health and safe motherhood to encourage the adoption of best practices to ensure safe pregnancy and delivery.

To effectively reach the mothers in the rural level, MAMA has partnered with local development NGOs like BRAC, MCHIP (MaMoni Program), Smiling Sun Franchise Program (SSFP), Social Marketing Company (SMC) and Fair Price International (InfoLady).

Nasima first got to know about Aponjon when a BRAC health worker told her about this new service. After registering with Aponjon, she can now listen to important health messages twice a week through her mobile phone. She can also retrieve old messages by simply dialing 16227 or dialing 16227 and 1 which takes her to the call center helpline.

‘Aponjon’ is like a caring family member

Aponjon service taught her a lot of things. She has learned to eat nutritious food during pregnancy and to keep her baby clean and wrapped with soft clothes. ‘Aponjon’ empowered her and gave her confidence to raise her second child all by herself as she doesn’t live with her in-laws; the messages she is receiving are giving her invaluable and timely information, which her mother or mother-in-law would have given her. Now she does not have to visit the health clinics for every single basic question.

The power of health in her hand

When asked why she likes ‘Aponjon’ service, Nasima told that she was very young when she gave birth to her first baby, who is now 12 years old. “Aponjon is providing me with important health information which I did not know when I had my first baby 12 years ago. The messages are particularly helpful when I have no one else beside me to take care of my newborn. I am willing to pay more for this service if it gives me important and useful messages”, says a confident and satisfied Nasima. Even though her husband is not registered with the gate- keeper’s Aponjon service, he is happy that his wife is getting access to necessary health information.