With several vulnerable pockets in the State recording alarmingly high incidents of maternal and infant mortality, the ‘Amma Kongu’ – a multi-pronged Social and Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) – strategy to improve quality and access to health care was launched by the Department of Health and Family Welfare, on Tuesday.

“The average Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) in the State is 134, yet several backward tribal and Dalit belts record a MMR of nearly 200. Even Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) in these regions is as high as 90, in contrast to the State average of 46,” says K. Ratna Kishore, Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare.

The ‘Amma Kongu’ approach seeks to influence social norms in such areas, to increase demand and utilisation of health care services.

It aims to improve the quality of health care delivery, with focus on institutional deliveries besides antenatal and postnatal care.

Formulated by the Government of Andhra Pradesh in collaboration with UNICEF, National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and John Hopkins University – Centre for Communication Programmes, ‘Amma Kongu’ aims at targeted intervention for vulnerable mothers and quality improvement of health care services.

The programme will be implemented in Krishna, Chittoor, Karimnagar, Vizianagaram, Kurnool and Adilabad districts.

Awareness campaigns on breast feeding, child marriages, antenatal and postnatal care, anaemia and child health including diarrhoea and immunisation will be conducted at the divisional and mandal level to increase demand for public health care, say officials.

A C4D (Communication for Development) cell to influence and develop social norms was launched at the occasion.