How Indian health-care workers use WhatsApp to save pregnant women

More than the previous 5 a long time, Patil has educated hundreds of ASHAs from distinct states to use WhatsApp to debunk phony facts. 

Maya Patil, an ASHA from Maharashtra’s Kutwad village, states she’s observed identical good effects immediately after utilizing WhatsApp. She’s been operating in the field for 13 several years, and in 2018 she achieved a woman in her ninth month of being pregnant with slipping hemoglobin concentrations who experienced not too long ago been identified with anemia. She experimented with to link the girl to the pertinent general public medical professional, but the household wished her to use organic procedures to boost her hemoglobin amounts.

Patil questioned the expecting girl to start out ingesting pomegranate juice, which has been verified to raise hemoglobin degrees, but her mother explained pomegranate juice causes kidney stones. Patil experimented with for many hrs to demonstrate the science, but the loved ones was not convinced, nor were they fascinated in anemia medications.

As a routine, Patil had been using images of hundreds of regional newspaper articles addressing prevalent health and fitness misinformation that had been prepared by medical doctors. In a single, she found information about the advantages of pomegranate seeds and juice. She sent the pregnant woman the short article in a WhatsApp message. Then she found extra applicable YouTube films recorded in Marathi, the woman’s language. After 10 these kinds of messages, she at last experienced an impression the household authorized the woman to adhere to her information, and inside 12 times, her hemoglobin concentrations experienced elevated. 

They worked collectively for three weeks, and when the lady gave start, it was a usual shipping and delivery with a healthier new child weighing 6-and-a-fifty percent pounds.

Generating a safer area for ladies

Even though they experienced correctly dealt with a excellent deal of misinformation around a number of decades, lots of ASHAs were being even now viewing pregnant gals who have been also terrified to chat about their pregnancies for dread of their in-laws and husbands. Even in significant, ASHA-led team messages, a lot of adult men in the community responded with “ill-educated feedback,” claims Netradipa Patil, the ASHA union leader.

Maya Patil similarly laments the persistence of hazardous medical information handed down by spouse and children. “The most important intention of any fake information connected to pregnancy is to make women go through,” she claims. “Many older ladies say that they had endured these rituals throughout their being pregnant, so why must the future technology not facial area this?” 

Maya Patil sits speaking with one-on-one with an expectant mother
Along with guaranteeing safer childbirth, ASHA workers are also liable for providing right postnatal wellness care to group girls. Right here, Maya Patil points out how to choose care of a new child.


So, in 2018 and 2019, ASHAs begun to type hyperlocal all-girls WhatsApp teams. With a smaller sized group of just 15 to 20 expecting women of all ages and their shut female family, Netradipa Patil would concentrate on supporting them comprehend the scientific factors of treatment. “It was hard, but easier than working with hundreds of folks in 1 go.” Following six months of exam operates, ladies in the teams even noted chatting about misinformation in their households.