Antenatal care is designed to make being pregnant safer for girls by detecting issues early and making certain well timed therapy. Not less than 4 antenatal care visits are really helpful to observe the well being of the pregnant lady and her fetus.
In rural areas, about 54 % of moms attend the really helpful visits, in comparison with 68.1 % in city areas. This suggests that roughly half of pregnant ladies in rural areas don’t go to hospitals for suggested care.
Consequently, these issues considerably influence ladies’s lives. In India, there have been 97 maternal deaths per 1,00,000 stay births reported between 2018–20.
“One of many main causes behind such deaths is that girls keep away from going to far-off healthcare centres for routine checkups. The issues, if any, stay ignored,” Tamil Nadu-based Senthil Kumar Murugesan tells The Higher India.
“Excessive-risk moms are often recognized within the third trimester, which is across the eighth month of being pregnant. Nonetheless, by this time, it’s usually too late to successfully handle issues earlier than labour. This may result in deadly outcomes. At present, all data are maintained on paper, and if mortality happens, the rationale behind the loss of life stays unknown. There are not any data-based analyses obtainable,” provides the 33-year-old.
An electronics and communications engineer by career, Senthil labored with corporations like Samsung and Qualcomm for seven years. However to handle this hole, in 2019, he began JioVio Healthcare, an IoT-based maternal healthcare startup that gives early threat monitoring companies at house.
“We developed an AI instrument that may predict high-risk pregnancies within the second trimester. This helps the ladies get early physician’s suggestions if any adjustments are wanted in vitamin, sleep cycle, and so forth. Our objective is to transform high-risk pregnancies into low-risk ones by making certain the well timed provision of remedy and correct vitamin,” he shares.
Senthil informs that since 2019, the startup has catered to greater than 30 lakh moms from 14,328 villages in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Kerala. By a 1,000-day care programme, he has additionally helped at the very least 7,320 high-risk pregnant ladies to date.
From sister’s wrestle to lifesaving innovation for rural ladies
He first got here throughout the being pregnant healthcare hole when his sister was pregnant in 2016. “She is a career-driven lady and would miss her antenatal appointments as a result of lack of time. Additionally, the space from her village to the hospital is much,” says the Madurai resident.
His concern for her drove him to develop a prototype of a tool that might monitor one’s vitals like blood glucose and blood stress. “I needed to ensure my sister doesn’t go into the labour room with any issues,” he says.
“This expertise made me realise that girls face important challenges when visiting hospitals for antenatal care. The lengthy journey occasions and ready intervals of 5 to 6 hours for a brief session lead many ladies to keep away from these visits and postpone them to the following month. Nonetheless, this delay prevents potential dangers from being assessed in a well timed method. I turned conscious of the alarming mortality charges amongst tribal and rural pregnant ladies and felt decided to discover a answer,” he provides.
So after making a easy machine for his sister, Senthil felt impressed to help extra ladies, significantly these in rural and distant areas. His intention was to assist them monitor important vitals often recorded throughout antenatal visits.
After three years of medical trials, he based JioVio Healthcare in 2019.
Monitoring vitals in a single machine
Explaining the method of reaching out to rural ladies, Senthil says, “We work with the state governments. After contacting them, the secretaries inform us in regards to the districts with excessive maternal mortality. We then strategy the district collector, who onboards block-level officers, healthcare staff, and rural ladies. When any of the agricultural ladies get pregnant, a cellular software is used to trace their well being and conduct month-to-month checkups.”
“We give our medical machine referred to as AlloTricorder to healthcare staff. They use it to measure important parameters like blood stress, blood glucose, ECG, and temperature — all utilizing a single machine. They then digitally switch the info through Bluetooth to the appliance,” he says.
“The info collected at hospitals is identical as what we seize at house. Our thought was to collect this information proper on the affected person’s house. If lab checks are obligatory, we acquire the samples from their properties,” he provides.
Senthil says, “Our machine is exclusive as different instruments obtainable available in the market are primarily for foetal monitoring. Nonetheless, we nonetheless advocate that girls go to the hospital each month, the place the physician can assessment the month-to-month information and prescribe remedy accordingly,” he says.
To this point, he has onboarded 15,000 healthcare staff and a couple of,500 docs.
A novel wearable for high-risk moms
Senthil additionally created a wise wearable machine referred to as Allowear, designed for high-risk pregnant ladies who want steady monitoring.
He says that this battery-operated machine tracks their sleep cycle, energy burned (indicating dietary deficiencies), pulse fee, and steps. It additionally sends well timed reminders for taking medicines. ASHA (Accredited Social Well being Activist) staff can retrieve the recorded well being information via Bluetooth and add it to the cloud, the place docs can entry it for assessment, he informs.
Senthil explains a state of affairs the place such gadgets are helpful. “If a high-risk mom has hypertension, docs additionally contemplate her sleep sample. If she isn’t getting correct sleep, it may well contribute to elevated blood stress. In such instances, the physician might prescribe totally different drugs as an alternative of a typical blood stress pill.”
The info is collected weekly and reviewed by a health care provider each 15 days. Excessive-risk moms are really helpful to make use of the wearable machine for 1,000 days — ranging from the fourth week of being pregnant till the infant’s second birthday.
The fee for this service is just Re 1 per day, lined by the federal government. Senthil says that their annual income is about Rs 1.5 crore.
Commenting on how helpful the gadgets are, Madurai-based Dr S Karthikeyan, who has been practising medication for 13 years, tells The Higher India, “We have now seen that a whole lot of pregnant ladies don’t maintain themselves which causes dietary deficiencies amongst them. This adjustments their blood glucose and stress, and ECG.”
“With these gadgets, we’re in a position to perceive the issues and alert native healthcare staff. Accordingly, we’re additionally in a position to prescribe iron dietary supplements, folic acid tablets, and different vitamin dietary supplements to the ladies. I can monitor their well being by sitting in my OPD. We have now been in a position to save a whole bunch of lives thanks to those gadgets. They’ve an enormous potential to cut back the maternal mortality fee in India,” he provides.
Senthil claims that he has been in a position to cut back maternal mortality by 10 % within the areas he has labored. For him, the influence of the work is extraordinarily satisfying.
“After 5 years into any company job, the work is just about the identical. I selected entrepreneurship as a result of it offers me extra studying alternatives. As an alternative of working in a giant Fortune 500 firm, this work offers me immense gratification. It’s fulfilling to see we’re in a position to save lives with our gadgets,” he shares.
Senthil shares that he now intends to broaden their companies in North and Northeast India.
Nationwide Household Well being Survey – 5: Revealed by Ministry of Well being and Household Welfare.
Vital Decline in Maternal Mortality in India: Revealed by Press Info Bureau on 14 December 2022.
Edited by Pranita Bhat. All images: Senthil Kumar.