Students on a mission to save India's Mothers

Innovation Jockeys Inspiration

“One of our team members’ sister suffered through two miscarriages. When she got pregnant a third time, Dr. Shital Munde ensured she received round-the-clock medical care and kept track with daily reports. This time, the pregnancy was a success,” recounts Shantanu Pathak, a member of Team CareMother. 

While they had managed to save a family member’s life through intensive medical care, Shantanu, a Telecommunications Engineer couldn’t help thinking of the women who had no access to even primary health care. What happened to them?

The research that followed threw up some shocking statistics. According to the WHO, 800 women die every day in India from preventable causes related to pregnancy and child birth. The yearly count of pregnant women in India is 30 million; with 75% of them belong to the rural areas of the country. Proper medical attention and healthcare is inaccessible in most of these areas leading to the high mortality rate. This was unforgivable. What good were the advances in modern medicine when they couldn’t reach those who required it the most? Maybe further advances needed to be made.

There was need to develop a system that would be easily accessible for women across the country to receive appropriate medical care and diagnosis during their pregnancy. The aim was to ‘educate pregnant women, empower health workers with advance tool and enable doctors to track records of all patients at one place’. If they were to deliver on all of these goals the solution required varied areas of expertise. Thus, apart from Dr. Shital Munde and Shantanu the effort brought together an interdisciplinary team from Mumbai consisting of a Polymer Engineer Swapnil Kokate, Vaibhav Tidke a Chemical Engineer, Dr Shital Somani a Dentist and Aditya Kulkarni a Computer Engineer.

The endeavor gave birth to an innovation the team calls CareMother. The innovation consists of a portable kit of sensors integrated with a mobile application for pregnancy (high risk and regular) care which can be integrated with public hospitals, government healthcare databases and even Aadhar Card ID systems.

“It allows basic, non-invasive medical test at home with unique kit and mobile application, enable doctor to track and analyse patient with historical data, connect doctor and patient 24X7 by mobile app, early diagnosis of high risk complications,” explains Vaibhav.

The team is determined that their innovation will empower gynecologists, government and health workers to reach and manage many patients and offer them quality of service.

“Over five years, CareMother will reach 15000 rural health centres and 15 million women in India by saving millions of lives, creating digital pregnancy care awareness and government money with 15 extra visits at home,” they tell us.

Apart from winning the Public Service category at Innovation Jockeys 2013, CareMother has won numerous accolades in the country and overseas as well. Chief amongst these, is being named among the top 10 innovations for Silicon Valley Programme by DST-Lockheed Martin Corp jointly with Stanford University and University of Texas, Austin, USA.

So what is their innovation mantra?

“Find the problem and convert it to an opportunity,” says Dr. Shital Munde.