The Directorate General of Family Planning (DGFP) has implemented eMIS (electronic Management Information System) across the country. The eMIS is an ecosystem of mobile apps and web-based applications being used by more than 10,000 field workers mainly in rural areas. Among the eMIS tools, FWA eRegister is a mobile app that is used by the Family Welfare Assistants (FWA), who work at community level. They serve ELCOs (eligible couples requiring family planning services), pregnant women, adolescents and children. They work both at household level or day care clinics. The FWAs, during household visits, distribute reproductive health commodities to existing clients on temporary methods, collect data on pregnant women, provide counselling services to adolescents etc. All data are captured in a Tablet. Client data held in Tablets are effectively used in the eRegister to improve the performance of the field workers.
Benefits of digital register
It is not easy to search paper documents. Those could be difficult to update and data are also not always accurate. Awareness or use of data residing in the paper registers, therefore, become difficult. Eventually some providers do better, some lag behind whether their records in their registers are usable or not. Digital tools make significant improvements in this respect. Digital tools can be designed to empower the users to serve better and resultantly give new meaning to data use while ensuring standards of performance.
The innovative use of data through JAT
the FWA eRegister includes a couple of features, namely Job Aid tools (JAT) and notification. On opening the app, the users are presented with a number of button menus, one of which is JAT. The purpose of the JAT is to get the FWAs ready for the forthcoming tasks on a daily basis. Using he JAT the FWAs can quickly access some lists, such as a) list of pregnant women whose expected dates of delivery or EDDs are within the next 7 days, b) list of pregnant women identified as at-risk, c) method wise list of ELCOs, d) Status of ELCO visits (not visited by concerned FWA in the last one, two, three months or over) and list of eligible couples according to the family planning methods (pills, injectable, IUD and Implant etc.). The lists can be filtered or sorted on the basis of multiple criteria. Another list of eligible couples who will be crossing 50 years within the next three months are also available in notification page.
How the users responded
The eMIS users have narrated their experience in previous blogs published in this website. Ms. Homaira Akter Mili, FWA, Cumilla greatly appreciated the JAT. It was revealed that she used the tools on a daily basis. For example, reviewing the list of pregnant women, she could make contact with such pregnant women over phone immediately or schedule an urgent visit. She can focus on those identified with at-risk (based on national criteria). Same is true for those who are expected to deliver within next 7 days, where data should be collected on outcome of delivery. The list of those on different family planning methods help the FWAs to skip visits to those on permanent methods. They could also decide not to visit those beyond the age of 50 for family planning purposes. The paper register had no such intuitive features. A list of method-wise list also helps her to consider whom to counsel for permanent methods or if there are any performance criteria to evaluate whether she could achieve those. She could also prioritize those not visited lately and schedule a visit early by reviewing visit data. She could also review dropouts from previous methods or transitions to different methods.
Similarly, though notification, another tool, the user can rely on app data to find the list of members who have migrated out of their catchment area.
Digitization makes it possible to use data effectively. Digital tools can be designed to provide insights to community level workers and ultimately to help them use data to perform effectively than before.