Bangladesh has made a tremendous progress in the health sector, reaching health services to all people, especially mothers and children, in both rural and urban areas.
According to the UK-based medical journal ‘Lancet’, the present government has undertaken different initiatives including community clinics to reach better health services to the doorsteps of all people across the country.
Of all the health-related initiatives being implemented in Bangladesh, the most modern Mobile Health Service “Aponjon” is getting increased popularity among the common people.
Pregnant mother, children and their family members are getting instant health services over mobile phone by just dialing ‘16227’ after registering with the mobile operators Grameen Phone, Airtel, Robi and Banglalink across the country.
Through the Aponjon, patients are getting quick and free health services from the specialist physicians without any hassle, waste of time or unnecessary spending of their hard-earned money.This type of health service innovated by the government led by Prime
Minister Sheikh Hasina also keep the patients away from wrong treatment by quacks or fake physicians, especially in the rural areas.
Health officials said the e-Health service is one of the most important initiatives of the present government to turn the country into digitalization. Bangladesh is the lone country in the South Asian region to introduce this unique health service.
Former US foreign minister Hilary Clinton inaugurated the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA) as part of the Global Health Initiative in May in 2011.
Bangladesh initiated this service as a pilot project in December in 2012. Later, ‘Aponjon’ as an organization began its activities independently, keeping in view the quick health service in both rural and urban areas of Bangladesh.
Officials said around seven crore people of the country use mobile phones while the active mobile SIMS are around 13 crore in Bangladesh. So, the government has adopted the project as a public-private partnership(PPP)initiative with the use of mobile phone technology everywhere.
Health and Family Welfare Ministry and the Access to Information (A2I), Prime Minister’s Office, are assisting the project. Private organization ‘D-net Bangladesh’ is implementing the project with the financial assistance from different international NGOs including USAID.
Rizwana Rashid Ani, former chief coordinator of Aponjon, said the project began its journey in Bangladesh in 2012 aimed at earning the Millennium Sustainable Goals (MDGs) through bringing down the rate of mortality of mother and children.
“We also achieved much success through the mobile apps in the health sector,” she said adding, “many people from different areas across the country have been taking health services by calling ‘16227.’
Health specialist Dr Naznin Akther quoting from a survey said awareness and information can save around 80 percent pregnant mothers from death during the delivery. There are instances of mothers and children dying in every hour due to pregnancy and birth relatred complexities, she said.
Naznin said many people in rural areas do not know the right information how to take care a mother and her child. They should know about the care which is most important in reducing the death rate by taking help from the Aponjon, she added.
Piash Islam, Marketing and Communication Executive of Aponjon, said, “We began our journey as a project…But now, we are giving the health service as a limited company.” People can get their round-the-clock health service from Aponjon, he said.
Mothers can get package services through prepaid cards, Piash said, adding they can buy a three-month package at Taka 55, six-month package at Taka 100 and one-year package at Taka 200.
“We have a plan to give the service to the mothers through video calling in future,” Piash said, reports BSS.