Thursday January 18, 2018

App for Indian women to understand contraceptive choices

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Washington: An Indian-American researcher from the Johns Hopkins University developed an app that is helping married Indian women in understanding contraceptive choices and using modern family planning methods within few months.

According to Sanjanthi Velu, Asia team lead at the Johns Hopkins Centre for Communication Programs (CCP), women who watched motivational videos on the app called “Gyan Jyoti” were 4.5 times more likely to use modern contraceptive methods than those who did not.

“This shows that mobile technology provides an innovative and dynamic platform for social and behaviour change communication,” Velu said.

“It can encourage conversations between women and frontline health workers that are interactive, culturally relevant, and personalised which lead to increased, sustained use of modern contraceptive methods,” he explained.

In one district of Bihar, smartphones loaded with the Gyan Jyoti app were given to 14 accredited social health activists (ASHAs), while in another district another 14 ASHAs were supplied with more low-tech SD cards.

Each set of ASHAs – community health workers – regularly visits roughly 1,400 rural women.

The ASHAs with the smartphone app were able to customise their family planning counselling, showing videos most appropriate to answer each woman’s particular questions.

Those ASHAs who had the SD card could show the videos, but did not have the benefit of customising their interaction.

The ASHAs using the app were also able to share the films via Bluetooth if the women had the technology, enabling the women to show it to their husbands or mothers-in-law at a later time.

The researchers randomly chose 406 women from each district to study in May 2015, five months after the app and the SD cards were made available to the ASHAs.

They found that 22 percent of women who were counselled with the app were using modern contraception such as IUDs, oral contraceptive pills and injectable contraception at the end of the study period while 13 percent of the women were using modern contraception in the district without the app.

Women who were visited by an ASHA during the study period were 1.9 times more likely to be using modern contraceptive methods.

More importantly, women who had watched the videos were 4.5 times more likely to be using modern contraceptives, no matter whether they were shown by an ASHA with the app or an SD card.

“Our research shows that there is value in developing targeted mobile platforms that can be customised depending on the needs of each provider and her clients,” Velu noted.

The app incorporates a variety of videos about family planning and modern contraceptive methods, including entertaining and educational films, testimonials from happy couples who are using contraception, question and answer videos with physicians and other information that aims to dispel myths and misconceptions.

According to Velu, the app can be adapted for different languages or other types of health information that families may need.

The findings were presented at the “International Family Planning Conference” in Nusa Dua, Indonesia on Thursday.(IANS)

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India successfully test fires n-capable Agni-V ballistic missile

The missile was earlier tested successfully in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016.

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Nirbhay
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) sources said the Nirbhay missile test was "successful".(Representative image) VOA
  • India successfully tests the Agni-V ballistic missile on Thursday
  • This was the fifth test that missile underwent
  • With this success India is now in ranks with US, UK, China and Russia

India on Thursday successfully test fired its indigenously developed intercontinental surface-to-surface nuclear-capable ballistic missile Agni-V — the most potent and with the longest range in the Agni series – that can reach targets as far as Beijing.

The test took place at the Abdul Kalam Island facility off the Odisha coast. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tweeted about its success, congratulating its makers DRDO, the armed forces and the defence industry.

You may also like : Ballistic missile Agni-IV test fired as part of user trial

India has many high tech and powerful missiles to its name. Wikimedia Commons
India has many high tech and powerful missiles to its name. Wikimedia Commons

She said the successful test of the 5,000-km-range missile that can carry a one-tonne warhead, was “a major boost to the defence capabilities of our country”.

“The Made in India canistered missile, having three stages of propulsion, was successfully test fired,” she tweeted.

Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the Agni-V is the most advanced version of the Agni series, part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme that started in the 1960s.

The missile was earlier tested successfully in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016.

This was the fifth test of the missile and likely to be its first user trial, though there was no official word on it.

India is developing new technologies everyday to strengthen its defence.
India is developing new technologies everyday to strengthen its defence.

Thursday’s test brings the missile closer to its induction in the tri-service Strategic Forces Command.

The missile has a much longer shelf life, with its container being made of special steel that absorbs the blast of the takeoff.

In the canisterised launch, a gas generator inside ejects the missile up to a height of about 30 metres. A motor is then ignited to fire the missile.

Also Read : Nikki Haley says North Korea Could Face Stronger Sanctions due to its 7th Missile test in 2017 .

With this missile, India joins the super-exclusive club of ICBM (missiles with a range of over 5,000-5,500 km) capable countries of the US, Russia, the UK, France and China. IANS