mSakhi: Award-winning Mobile Phone App for Frontline Health Care

Mom and baby seeking care in rural India

IntraHealth has worked in India for over 20 years, and we’ve seen firsthand how mobile technology has transformed the country’s approach to health care. That’s why we created mSakhi, an award-winning mobile phone app proven to help health workers in even the remotest villages provide high-quality health care to the families who count on them.

mSakhi (sakhi means “a friend” in Hindi) is an open source Android application developed specifically for frontline health workers in India. It’s is an all-in-one job aid and electronic medical record system that replaces multiple paper-based tools and helps health workers gain access to the most up-to-date training and information in easy-to-understand, convenient formats that work for them.

With mSakhi, health workers such as India’s ASHAs—which stands for accredited social health activists—can use their smartphones to update skills, stay in touch with supervisors, and track and report crucial data about health issues in their communities. They can use the app to teach new parents how to protect their babies from infection or dehydration, how to breastfeed, and how to identify symptoms of serious illness. If a mother or baby needs medical attention, an ASHA can use mSakhi to quickly refer them to a doctor who can help.

Scaling Up and Expanding Globally

mSakhi's promising results have helped inform a large-scale smartphone-based mHealth initiative led by the Government of Uttar Pradesh reaching 12,000 frontline health workers in five districts—with a total population of 15 million. And mSakhi will soon be available for  frontline health workers in two other states of India (Uttarakhand and Jharkhand) with a combined population of 45 million.

IntraHealth is seeking partners in Africa, Asia, and Latin America to help expand mSakhi even further geographically and into new subject areas such as noncommunicable diseases, HIV/AIDS, and youth programs.

IntraHealth originally developed mSakhi with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Other funders supporting IntraHealth’s mSakhi work included the Wireless Reach program of Qualcomm and the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation. 

Selected Achievements

Improved the health of mothers and babies throughout rural India through technology and training for community-based midwives and accredited social health activists.
Set up an mHealth lab in Uttar Pradesh—the state with the highest number of maternal and newborn deaths in India—to scale up mSakhi and other mHealth applications in the state and beyond.
mSakhi—an interactive smartphone app that provides on-the-job support to frontline health workers—won a 2015 mBillionth Award from the Digital Empowerment Foundation for outstanding mobile content.