Globally, lakhs of women die preventable deaths every year due to pregnancy-related complications.
In India, because many health departments are short-staffed and workers are overextended, rural women are nearly three times more likely to die from complications during pregnancy or childbirth than those in more urban areas. Many of these women are still wary of the modern health-care system and cannot afford to make frequent visits to far-off hospitals. While a mother’s death is a tragedy in itself, it has even worse cascading effects – her child is 15 times more likely to die before the age of two, and her other children may also die prematurely.
When Senthil Murugesan visited his sister while she was pregnant in 2016, she was living in the outskirts of Madurai. She was often anxious about her pregnancy and would have to travel all the way to a city hospital for check-up. Senthil decided to visit her gynaecologist and ask about the vital parameters tracked for a pregnant woman. He bought blood pressure and blood glucose measuring devices and replaced their display screens with a blue chip that would SMS his sister’s readings to the doctor who would then evaluate them and message her back, and remind her to take the prescribed medicines, supplements, and a good diet. After his sister’s positive experience, it struck Senthil that he could help many more women who had little or no access to healthcare facilities.
Savemom is an IoT-based maternal healthcare solution that monitors a mother’s health using smart wearables that collect various physiological signals (blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, respiratory rate, ECG, oxygen saturation and glucose) continuously from the mother. These signals are processed with advanced techniques and a risk assessment is done continuously to ensure that she is healthy. The vitals are uploaded in the cloud for doctors to view remotely. Caregivers and doctors are alerted if any mother’s risk assessment is negative, so that preventive measures may be taken at the right time.
The innovation consists of Allowear, a unique jewellery-inspired wearable device with 6 months battery life. It tracks sleeping, steps and gives reminders for medicines. It was specially designed to discourage men from the pregnant women’s household from using it – which commonly happens with wearables in rural households. The second component tis Allotricoder, an integrated non-invasive device that captures six vitals – blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, respiratory rate, ECG, oxygen saturation and glucose – digitally and sends it to AI engine for analysis. The third component is AlloBMI, a simple weighing scale integrated with the application to monitor the steady rise in weight during pregnancy. This was especially necessary for rural areas where women astonishingly lost weight during the course of pregnancy, leading to unnecessary complications.
JioVio has collaborated with local government agencies and NGOs for providing 1,000 days care to mother and child for Rs. 1,000 that covers 15 antenatal check-ups of the mother and post-natal care of the baby. Their solution has been deployed in over 100 villages in southern states and benefited thousands of pregnant women by conducting tens of thousands of antenatal check-ups. Savemom has successfully addressed data manipulation malpractices of healthcare workers by ensuring that vital information can only be collected in the homes of the pregnant women after synchronizing the wearable devices to a mobile application. This ensures that the health worker visits their home every two weeks. The collected vital information can be sent to the doctor in real-time for feedback.
There has been positive impact on the health of the babies as well. For example, most babies born in the tribal region of Wayanad were underweight, so JioVio developed an innovative method to deliver nutrition to the rural mother using a drinking water source. This helped in addressing the issue to some extent.
Senthil is Co-Founder of JioVio Healthcare and is passionate about innovating through technology to solve real-life problems
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