From conversation to solutions: Solving Pain points for female healthcare in India | The Financial Express

From conversation to solutions: Solving Pain points for female healthcare in India

India’s femtech revolution is just beginning. But it will not be successful, without platforms and products, made on ground up by the sisterhood of women who are defining their needs and seeking personalised solutions.

From conversation to solutions: Solving Pain points for female healthcare in India
Neutral spaces by default are dominated by men. What’s needed is a safe space for discussion, access and solutions for women’s health consultations and products. (File)

By Shaili Chopra

Pranjal is a twenty year old woman suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome and doesn’t know how to manage it with nutrition and diet. She lives with friends but is shy to admit her personal health problems. She seeks a guide that will offer non-judgement care, advice and solutions.

Ruchika, 25, is a sexually active young girl who is exploring her body and sexuality but is often confused on what’s okay and what’s not. She is hesitant to visit her neighbourhood gynaecologist because she may judge Ruchika and talk about her sexual life.

The modern Indian woman is desperate for a safe space which offers content on women’s health, creates access and availability of personalised and relevant solutions. As the founder of SheThePeople, the more I spoke to women over the last 18 months, I realised how big a gap health has been.

Take a look at these numbers

70% per cent of Indian women do not access work opportunities due to health issues. 91% percent of women are concerned about their menstrual cycles. 70% per cent are upset about the kind of diet they consume to stay healthy. More than 50% of Indian women suffer from stage 3 and 4 of breast cancer. Infact, India has a much higher death rate compared to women in the United States.

The very reason for a low survival rate of women suffering from cancer, or facing severe conditions during menstruation, or having early osteoporosis stems from lack of awareness and poor early screening and diagnosis rates.

We need grassroots change

Recognising that health is among the key factors that put women behind the economic curve. Topics that are frequently ignored, such as women’s sexual pleasure, bad relationships and their impact on health need to come to the fore.

It is not a surprise that men are healthier than women. Women are expected to invest their time and effort in taking care of the welfare of their family members, while ignoring their own health. It is not common in our society for women to take a day off, sleep in, visit a doctor but rather they are expected to cook, serve and clean daily. In such cases, women rarely get the time to go for a regular medical check-up or rest if they are ill.

And this isn’t just true for a village household, this is true across income levels. Remember what Indra Nooyi’s mom said to her? Leave your crown outside and be the woman of the house at home. These situations are reflective of how ingrained it is in us women to ‘do it all’ and not prioritise ourselves.

The more I spoke to women, the more I felt the need to start a new movement in women’s health which I have called Gytree, where the spotlight is on asking questions without hesitation. #KhulkePuchho. Having worked to change mindsets, so that women can freely ask questions about their health, there are still pain points I have observed.

Need for community wide awareness initiatives: There is a need to address women’s health myths and taboos. Let’s note that women have a different set of nutritional needs than men. Not only this, their biological needs vary with menstrual cycles, various stages of life, vitamin deficiencies, hormonal changes etc. and should be addressed accordingly. Women need a one stop place for hormonal handholding through their cycles, not just pregnancy.

Safe spaces: Neutral spaces by default are dominated by men. What’s needed is a safe space for discussion, access and solutions for women’s health consultations and products. Preventive action is key in solving the women’s health issues in India.

Use of technology: In the larger scheme of things it’s important to scale access and technology and digital tools are facilitating this. I am very proud to see how we are delivering online consultations through Gytree through workshops and a chatbot technology that’s free for usage.

Having verified information: We are all suffering from the larger issue at hand, which is misinformation. Random sources and poor quality information on searches is leading people to do all kind of self-diagnosis. This needs to change. I believe stakeholders in the healthcare system must work together to improve women’s knowledge about non-communicable diseases, nutrition and menstrual hygiene.

(The author is Founder SheThePeople & Gytree. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the FinancialExpress.com.)

Get live Share Market updates and latest India News and business news on Financial Express. Download Financial Express App for latest business news.

Photos
14 Photos
G20 Presidency: Rare Photos from all-party meet, chaired by PM Modi
11 Photos
‘The festival of democracy’ – Modi votes in Gujarat 2nd phase! See PHOTOS
11 Photos
Gujarat Assembly Election 2022: The Festival of Democracy – In PICS