Villgro and FPAI have joined hands to support start-ups that are developing tech-based solutions to sexual and reproductive health challenges. In the wake of widening gap in awareness due to socially constrained circumstances from Covid-enforced limiting of ground efforts, Villgro and FPAI are backing starts up to find solutions to issues such as early diagnosis of early diagnosis of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), timely pregnancy diagnosis, multi-lingual sex education and eco-friendly disposal of sanitary napkins.
The Family Planning Association of India (FPAI) and Villgro, to that end, have launched an innovation challenge to identify two winners who would, apart from a cash prize of Rs 3.5 lakh, would secure follow-on funding and incubation support.
It is estimated that over 20% women in India suffer from PCOS. While PCOS is a hormonal disorder that can be treated, but if not diagnosed in a timely manner, it aggravates other serious health issues and make women suffering from it more vulnerable to diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, hyper tension and other complications. As we continue to grapple with the Covid-19 pandemic, PCOS escalates co-morbidities which makes it all the more lethal to health and well-being. Most women tend to ignore easily-detectable common symptoms in the early stages, mainly due to lack of awareness about it. There is a dire need to create awareness using interactive mediums and different modes.
According to Ramanathan.V from Villgro India lags behind many countries in the development of infrastructure to deal with sexual and reproductive health problems. With Innovation Challenge, we are looking for disruptive solutions in sexual health.”
Early diagnosis of PCOS is crucial because it is connected with ailments like insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart diseases. As per WHO, more than 150 million women globally suffer from it.
Dr. Manisha Bhidse, Director, Resource Mobilization, FPAI said “Sexual and reproductive health is an important topic in India but still gets overlooked. In India, there has been progress in this area over the past few years with the decline of infant mortality rate and maternal mortality rate but still a lot needs to be done. Our aim is to find solutions for India that are socially transformative and at the same time commercially viable”