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Story of Shumi Dev

Aponjon is an inspiration for both Health Workers and clients

Shumi Dev is a 24 year old community health worker (CHW) who has been working for MAMONI in Balaganj (Sylhet) under the supervision of SHIMANTIK. Her primary work is to disseminate information about antenatal checkup, postnatal check, and safe delivery and family planning methods among expectant women, new mothers and eligible couples. She had received training from “Aponjon” team along with her 13 colleagues in her area during the pilot phase. For “Aponjon” she registers expectant women and new mothers who have mobile phones in their houses and who want to receive weekly messages throughout pregnancy and until the first birthday of their child. Shumi approaches the poorest of the poor who do not have access to doctor and who needs behavioral orientation to improve maternal and child care at household levels. She identifies women who have a mobile phone handset at home, who are eligible to receive the service (expectant women/ have child less than 1 year of age), explains the service mode and take consent to register them for the service. She uses a registration form of “Aponjon” and captures socioeconomic condition of each client for further socio-demographic considerations. She thinks that “Aponjon” is reaching out to women and family who needs critical health information badly.

“I think the service will be very good for people who happen to come from low-income group. Wealthy and middle income people who consult doctor on regular basis and are exposed to a lot of health information may not think the service is required for them. I am already getting a lot of response from the low-income group.” says Shumi Dev. Shumi has been with “Aponjon” since the inception of the pilot phase in 2011. She is one of the health workers of the pilot whose feedback in the service on pricing policy, call center, registration process and customer acquisition process was incorporated in the service before roll out.

Shumi thinks the service is creating awareness among people about the things they should do to avoid any mishaps. For example, women and families are reminded about their appointments with their doctors for antenatal and postnatal checkups which they are following. Women and families have faith the mobile messages provided by an expert doctor, so when the “doctor” in the messages is asking them to test their blood groups they are immediately testing their blood. Shumi thinks “Aponjon” is making her life easy by motivating people to take action accordingly without having fear.

“‘Aponjon’ tell women about danger signs or symptoms and not to panic. Women listen to the mobile messages, realize what they are going through is a normal process and gradually perform the works that we (also) have been asking them to do.” The inspired Health Worker feels proud to be able to transfer her inspiration to the community in so dire need of trustworthy effective information.