Have you ever seen a tapestry? A textile art created with an exquisite fusion of colourful threads interlaced with meticulous precision. Now, imagine a tapestry in which each strand portrays distinct facets of women’s healthcare – access to care, the influence of socio-economic factors, the impact of community healthcare practices, and disheartening realities of disparities in medical research and treatment. Also, view the delicate nature of tapestry as a symbol of their intricate health needs, which often stay overlooked or undervalued. However, just as a tapestry regains strength with care, attention, and collaboration, is our healthcare system correctly navigating the multifaceted challenges faced by women in the country? Let’s find out.
In India today, access to care has seen improvement through various government and independent organisation initiatives. However, socio-economic factors continue to cast shadows, creating financial barriers that limit women’s ability to receive the necessary care they need. Despite advancements in medical technology, women often find themselves marginalised within healthcare systems due to factors such as tech illiteracy, geographical remoteness, and entrenched community beliefs. This highlights the crucial understanding that long-term healthcare challenges cannot be solely addressed by technology-driven solutions alone. One notable example is the ‘JEEVAN BINDI’ initiative, which specifically targets rural areas in north-west Maharashtra to tackle iodine deficiency among women. Notably, such programs not only address nutrient deficiencies, but also shed light on related health concerns like Goitre, Breast Cancer, and Fibroids prevalent in these rural communities. However, the sustained success of such initiatives relies on continuous monitoring and regular patient follow-ups to ensure enduring positive outcomes.
The Way Forward with Assisted-Telemedicine & Real-time Diagnostics
According to the National Iodine Deficiency Disorders Control Programme – the alarming prevalence of iodine deficiency disorders among over 71 million Indians. Addressing this critical issue requires not only immediate intervention but also long-term monitoring to achieve optimal results. Assisted-telemedicine healthcare units emerge as a promising solution, ensuring that women can receive continuous care even after the conclusion of camps or health shivirs. These innovative platforms enable remote consultations, allowing women to access healthcare services from the comfort of their own homes. Furthermore, these economical, assisted care delivery units can also deliver Real-time Diagnosis Solution via Rapid Test Kits & diagnostic tools and quick referrals for specialised care.
“In the tapestry of women’s health, assisted-telemedicine units weave a lifeline of continuous care.”
In underserved communities, where daily practices are shaped by collective community beliefs, the integration of advanced medical care often progresses at a sluggish pace. Regrettably, this sluggishness extends to the realm of women’s health, where access to comprehensive prenatal and postnatal care is limited, leaving expectant mothers vulnerable to complications that can profoundly impact their mental and physical well-being. Although in the last few years, India witnessed an overall declining maternal mortality ratio, huge disparities still persist between different states.
Fig: Maternal mortality ratio in India from 2017 to 2019, by state (per 100,000 live births) Source – Statista
India has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios (MMRs) and neonatal death rates in the world. And, every year 77 000 women die due to pregnancy complications. According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, parents often lack the knowledge and awareness, but the knowledge barrier is not the only concern. Rugged terrain, unpaved roads, lack of transport at the critical hour, poor communications, and poor health infrastructure are also some of the key barriers between pregnant women in remote villages in India and good quality health care.
- Integrated EMR systems can ensure seamless information exchange, enabling healthcare providers to access accurate medical histories and make informed decisions, even in remote areas.
- Quick diagnostic tests, designed for easy and rapid deployment, can aid in the early detection and management of complications, saving critical time and improving outcomes.
- Healthtech platforms can establish telemedicine networks, facilitating remote consultations and enabling doctors to reach patients who are geographically isolated.
- EMR and personal health record (PHR) systems can simplify the work of ASHA workers, empowering them to efficiently track and monitor pregnant women’s health, share data with healthcare professionals, and provide targeted interventions.
By harnessing the power of healthtech, India can surmount the barriers of rugged terrain, poor infrastructure, and limited transport options, elevating the reach of healthcare services and potentially saving thousands of lives each year.
In the intricate tapestry of women’s healthcare, technology emerges as a crucial thread, weaving together access, empowerment, and improved outcomes. As we navigate the challenges of socio-economic factors, geographic remoteness, and community beliefs, healthtech platforms offer a lifeline of care. By embracing the power of assisted-telemedicine and real-time diagnostics, we empower women to break free from the shackles of limited access. Together, let us stand up for women’s health and unravel a future of equitable care.