NGO News Report :: Aponjon, an innovative health information service utilizing mobile phones to improve maternal and neonatal health outcomes celebrated its One Million Subscriber milestone on February 5 with a sharing event in Dhaka. Aponjon delivers behavior change messages to pregnant women, new mothers, and their caretakers using mobile phone technology. The service, supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), sends messages based on the specific details of the subscriber, including week of pregnancy or age of the child, that are customized to appeal to urban and rural clients regardless of their ability to read.
Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Syed Monjurul Islam, graced the auspicious occasion as chief guest. Melissa Jones, Director of USAID’s Population, Health, Nutrition and Education programs joined; Mohammad Fazul Haque, Joint Secretory & Director Planning, Directorate General of Family Planning; Dr. Md. Shah Nawaz, ADG (Administration) , Directorate General of Health Services and Mohammad Wahd Hossain, Director General, NIPORT joined as special guests.
CEO and Global Director of Dnet and Chief Technical Advisor of MAMA Bangladesh, Dr. Ananya Raihan, and Atik Ahsan, Program Manager of the MAMA Bangladesh Initiative, as well as key partners, Chief of Party of MaMoni Health Systems Strengthening Project Dr. Ishtiaq Mannan, CEO of BEXIMCO Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Mr Rabbiur Reza, and Director of Multimode Group, Nasrin Fatima Awal Mintoo were also present.
“I’m proud to be a part of ‘Aponjon’. The partnership with Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Access to Information Program were instrumental for the successful implementation of the program,” said Melissa Jones.
Honorable Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Syed Monjurul Islam, said that “the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has been very closely engaged with the developments of the initiative since its beginning and it has been seen how dedicatedly and passionately Aponjon team has worked to make it a success.” He also said that the government is implementing a number of programs and projects in order to reduce maternal and infant deaths.
Chief of Party from USAID’s MaMoni Health Systems Strengthening Project, Dr. Ishtiaq Mannan, explained how MaMoni started its work to reduce maternal and child mortality only a few days before Aponjon began. He also talked about how the two projects have successfully worked together to save the lives of mothers and children in seven districts of Bangladesh.
Dnet has been implementing this program in association with MAMA Global and the financial support of USAID. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has also extended its support towards this initiative. Users simply dial “16227” to access Aponjon services, and press 1 to register. This can be done through any mobile operator. Dnet now aims to reach every mother and child in the country through Aponjon.
More information about Aponjon
‘Aponjon’ 10K subscribers’ milestone was reached at end of December 2012 and 500,000 subscribers in May 2014; then within four months (on 21 September 2014) they reached the milestone of 1 Million Aponjon subscribers. It shows an almost exponential growth in ‘Aponjon’ subscribers’ acquisition. It reached this growth with the support from USAID/Bangladesh, MaMoni HSS and outreach partners, Corporate Founding Partners at national and international levels, MAMA Global Partners, Telecommunication Partners & Technical Support Providers, Communication Partners, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOH&FW), Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and Dnet. Dnet, an ICT development organization and social enterprise of Bangladesh, launched Aponjon’s pilot phase in September, 2011 to reduce preventable maternal and child deaths by increasing the amount of information available to pregnant women, new mothers and their families. In August 2012, Aponjon was launched across Bangladesh and within two years the program reached almost all the districts.