In a major initiative to improve healthcare for women and children in low and middle-income groups, 100 innovators in developing nations, including 17 in India, will receive a seed grant of 100,000 Canadian dollars each. Funded by Grand Challenges Canada, with financial support from the Canadian government, the ideas to develop and test innovations aimed at addressing persistent challenges. Grand Challenges Canada announced an investment of over 10 million Canadian dollars to develop and test innovations delivered by social enterprises, non-profit organisations, research institutes, universities, foundations and hospitals.
Over $4 million is dedicated to 44 projects addressing sexual and reproductive health and rights, putting Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy into action. Proposed by institutions in Canada and abroad, the bold ideas embrace a range of creative solutions to improve the lives and health of some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable women and children in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe. A total of 17 projects in India received grants to develop and test innovations aimed at addressing persistent challenges in women and children’s healthcare.
The Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre is looking to assist rural women in India with the creation of a personalised, accessible, data-driven, women-centric strategy for sexual and reproductive wellness and clinical care in the form of a wearable pendant. This technology will track health data on menstruation, clinical signs, symptoms, body temperature and heart rate and display information with different coloured emojis. The wearable pendant connects to a smartphone application to deliver wellness indicators to nearby clinical providers, where women can access self-controlled, high-quality tailored health services, using data to inform smart choices. Such choices will inform their reproductive and sexual lives and reduce morbidity and mortality.
The All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Jodhpur aims to empower adolescents. It says adolescents in India face barriers to accurate and constructive information about sexual and reproductive health and rights. The “flipped classroom” provides sexual and reproductive health information via mobile app and allows students to study the material privately at home. Class time is then used for questions, deeper learning, analysis, clarification and discourse with a skilled facilitator.
So is detection and monitoring heart disease in underserved women in India by Audicor Cardiometrics Pvt. Ltd. The company has a tool which non-invasively provides four biomarkers of heart disease, in 10 seconds, and can be done at the point of care in rural remote settings, for about one-third of the cost of traditional heart failure diagnostic services.
Non-profit organisation ARMMAN is implementing and testing a free teleservice in which counsellors guide parents of 960 children in Mumbai and New Delhi with severe acute malnutrition through direct calls on food, health and nutrition. About six million young mothers in India face post-partum depression annually and as a result 20,000 women commit suicide, says BEMPU Health Pvt Ltd. Its project aims to develop and test Bhappy; a low-cost screening tool for postpartum depression that is usable on any standard smartphone and categorises mothers as healthy, at-risk or needs attention in order for nurses to connect mothers to clinical assistance as required. Remote parts of Indian mountainous states like Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are still facing age-old menstruation taboos that force menstruating women to inhabit cramped sheds away from their homes.
Nyaya Health Nepal will combat this practice called Chaupadi in the Himalayan country. Despite recent progressive healthcare policies, over 10 million Nepalis lack access to healthcare, due to fragmented infrastructures, a decade-long civil war, and the 2015 earthquake.
In India, women in many remote parts of the hill states are virtually ex-communicated when they are menstruating. They are forced to sleep outside the house, in cattle-like sheds known as menstruation sheds. The reason: A woman is considered “unclean” when she’s bleeding or in a post-natal state. The so-called “unclean” women, during their periods and after childbirth, are barred from touching cattle or men and they are even denied access to toilets, walking miles from their villages daily to take a bath.
Over the past seven years, Grand Challenges Canada’s “Stars in Global Health” programme has provided $70 million Candian dollars to 661 projects, implemented in 87 low and middle-income countries over nine rounds of funding since 2011.