Case Study Hero: mMitra


Improving maternal and child health in India with life-saving health information

  • Thrive created a programme of audio messages for pregnant women and new mothers
  • Behavioural science underpinned the content to ensure its effectiveness
  • mMitra has reached 2.4m women, had a significant impact on the health of women and children, and won multiple awards


To create a programme of audio messages, incorporating life-saving health information and behaviour change techniques, delivered by mobile phone to pregnant women and new mums in India.

India has one of the highest rates of preventable maternal and infant death in the world. Mortality rates are highest among women in the poorest communities with limited access to healthcare.

mMitra, a free mobile voice call service, was designed to address these challenges. Most women could access a mobile phone and using audio overcame the barrier of low literacy.

The programme was created in a partnership between BabyCenter, Johnson & Johnson and ARMANN.


Thrive took on the challenge to design and produce the content for the mMitra programme.

To create an effective and engaging programme, we needed a deep understanding of the lives and needs of the audience . Embedding behaviour change techniques into the messages ensured they would carry the greatest impact.

Here’s how we did it:

  • We oversaw formative research and in-person focus groups to understand the audience and their health needs. We also visited hospitals, clinics and met women in their homes in the densely packed Dharavi slum.
  • We carefully planned the content to suit the stage of the recipient’s pregnancy or the age of her child.
  • We wrote 141 voice messages of between one and two minutes. Then we managed the messages through a validation process with The Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecological Societies of India and National Neonatology Forum.
  • We handled the translation of the messages into Hindi, Marathi and Kannada, and produced the recordings.
  • Finally, we ran focus groups to test the programme and iterated on the feedback.


So far, mMitra has reached 2.4 million women. Impact data published by ARMAAN have shown that mMitra has made a significant difference in many areas including:

  • 25% increase in the number of pregnant women who took iron tablets for 90 or more days
  • 26.3% increase in proportion of infants under six months who were exclusively breastfed
  • 17.4% increase in proportion of infants who tripled their birth weight at the end of one year

mMitra won a number of awards, including the GSK-Save the Children Healthcare Innovation Award 2017 and the People’s Choice Award at the Saving Lives at Birth event in 2011, organised by USAID, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, World Bank, Government of Norway and Grand Challenges, Canada.

As a result of the success of mMitra, Thrive was asked to create content for additional audio programmes targeting nutrition and HIV prevention.

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