The use of mobile devices, particularly mobile phones, has increased exponentially in many South Asian countries, including India. SAIFRN researchers have recently trialled the feasibility of counselling and delivery of health promotion information via mobile phones to women from low socio-economic strata during and after pregnancy.
A cohort of women received a weekly call from trained lactation counsellors and a daily SMS in their vernacular language on a range of topics such as appropriate maternal diet, benefits of colostrum and importance of early initiation. Other contacts via mobile phone included reminders to attend antenatal classes and immunization visits.
The results of the intervention showed statistically significant improvements in key breastfeeding indicators. The researchers stated that future approaches should be extended to include complementary feeding, although effectively communicating comprehensive and practical information in a phone call may prove challenging.