For Good Health Of Mothers And Babies, A Toll Free Helpline For Villagers Soon

A caller can give a missed call at toll free number 10588 and will receive a call back within 90 seconds.

New Delhi: Villagers will soon be able to call central government’s toll free number to complain or enquire about health facilities for mother and children in their vicinity.

As part of its Integrated Child Development Services, the government had set up a Mother and Child Tracking Facilitation Centre (MCTFC) in 2014 from where calls are made to ASHA workers and beneficiaries to monitor the quality of health services being imparted locally.

This facilitation centre will soon be introducing inbound calling facility that will, for the first time, enable the villagers and the health workers to contact the government through the facilitation centre, a senior official of National Institute of Health and Family Welfare (NIHFW) said.

A caller can give a missed call at toll free number 10588 and will receive a call back within 90 seconds.

The facilitation centre operates from the premises of National Institute of Health and Family Welfare.

86 call agents make 5,000 calls every day on an average.

The job of a call agent is to contact an expectant mother to know whether the ASHA worker has counselled her about the benefits of delivering a child in a hospital, shared information on various government and state policies designed for her and administered nutrition supplements like iron and folic acid among others.

The caller from the facilitation centre also calls ASHA workers to know from them if they have sufficient stock of vaccines, drugs and nutrition supplements. She is also a point person from whom details about health infrastructure like a labour room, primary health care centre, in a village is collected.

This is also a medium to educate ASHA workers about new government schemes announced for the benefit of mothers and children.

Since the launch of the facilitation centre in April 2014, call centre agents have contacted nearly 40 lakh beneficiaries. Similarly, they have reached out to over 2 lakh Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANMs)and nearly 6 lakh ASHAs.

The facility is now available for 13 states and uses Hindi and English for communication.

Five new regional languages – Gujarati, Telugu, Odiya and Assamese- will soon be incorporated as well.

Officials at Mother and Child Tracking Facilitation Centre say this mechanism has helped them flag misuse of contraceptive methods on occasions and also to ensure, for instance, that a mother doesn’t leave the hospital until 48 hours after delivering a child in order to ensure basic ante-natal care.

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