In 2017, India lost 30,000 women due to pregnancy or a childbirth-related cause. This means that we lost a woman almost every 18 minutes that year. This number could be exponentially lower if only there was adequate pregnancy healthcare and information available to women. Unaware of the possible complications, not only do these women end up losing either their lives or their child’s, they later only become part of a statistical list.
When Dr Esha Chainani, an obstetrician and gynaecologist (OBGYN) resident detected this imbalance between what a doctor could provide and how much a patient knows, she knew something had to be done about it. Lack of information was too trivial a matter to allow deaths to take place. To jump over this obstacle, she began Premaa — a free multilingual Android app which is available in Hindi, Marathi and English. The app provides vital information about women, their bodies, their pregnancy journey, and all the boxes they should be ticking through it.
Speaking of contraception in India is considered almost unholy. It would hint at the fact that a woman is sexually active and that’s not a pill everyone wants to swallow.
“Contraception is seen as a big taboo and not talked about openly. Women, especially from marginalised societies, have a very difficult time managing their sexual health and this leads to sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies,” says Dr Esha. Lack of awareness about contraceptives leads to unwanted pregnancies, which carries its own set of problems. For whatever reason, many such women consult quack doctors or even try to perform abortion procedures on themselves. This results only in pain, both mental and physical. Moreover, these make women more and more prone to long-term complications.
Dr Esha opines, “Socially talking about their pregnancies leads to a lot of false truths, fake news and advertising specific content, which, while being easily accessible is not reliable or credible.” Each pregnancy is unique and the care given for each of them must be well suited and adjusted according to each woman’s need. Premaa allows women to openly present their pregnancy problems. Under the guidance of a specialist doctor, the app also tracks menstruation, medications, sonographies and doctors’ appointments. While at the end of the day, it is just an app, Premaa may also be the source of support and assurance that things will be okay — an element of confidence that is missing in many women’s lives.
The launch of Premaa also became possible because of partnerships with like-minded NGOs like Urja Trust and Shakti Shalini, who also hold the vision of providing adequate healthcare to women across the country. With Dr Esha’s objective to care for women in their most powerful yet vulnerable stage of life, Premaa has already provided care for over 500 of them.
‘Premaa’ comes from the two Hindi words, ‘prem’ (love) and ‘maa’ (mother). The love a mother holds for her child is unmatched and there is no good reason for a woman to be deprived of living through that experience. With utter strength and unmatched affection, women deserve much more than health complications or maybe even death just because of a few crevices in the system.
Something so pure as childbirth, something that has the ability to bring joy to so many people is still viewed with scanty importance. A little more education and some more care can do so much for women in need, and this is exactly what Dr Esha has set her mind to with her Premaa app.
You can download the app here.
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