The Women & Access to Health Daring Circle was created last November as an initiative of the Women’s Forum. Led by Sanofi and AXA, in collaboration with BNP Paribas and Google, and in association with RB and Gavi - the Vaccine Alliance, this circle of partners aims to improve and promote women’s access to health and brings concrete support to young enterprises that have the strongest potential to improve and promote health access for women in developed and developing countries.
One of the two outcomes of this Daring Circle was the Call for Initiatives for startups that shared this vision to bridge women’s access to health around the globe. The results were phenomenal – we received over 200 applications from more than 35 countries. The top 3 finalists presented their work at the Viva Tech conference on 16 May and we asked them how they are tackling challenges pertaining to women's access to health!
Mobile ODT - 1st Place
Cervical cancer screening today is limited in its impact due to technological and infrastructure restrictions, leaving it as a leading cause of death for women around the world despite the fact that it is so easy to treat if caught in the first five years from HPV infection. Current screening programs rely on Pap cytology and HPV molecular diagnostics and therefore requires laboratory infrastructure, sample collection, and processing time of days or weeks that leads to massive loss-to-follow-up. Even in the US's most integrated healthcare system, Kaiser Permanente of Northern California, approximately 24% of women who receive a positive result for high-grade lesions do not return for diagnosis and treatment, and 49% of women found to be high-risk HPV positive. And even when a woman is identified to be positive, she needs to then be referred to an expert clinician for follow-up diagnosis and treatment. Our approach has been to enable nurses and doctors in 29 countries around the world to leapfrog infrastructure constraints by using our Enhanced Visual Assessment (EVA) System, a connected, telehealth platform with a powerful AI that is significantly more accurate than Pap cytology and enables immediate remote expert support when required.
Our AI - called Automated Visual Evaluation (AVE) - will enable healthcare providers to detect cervical cancer and precancer at the point-of-care, using no more than a single image of the cervix, enabling 'screen and treat' anywhere around the world. AVE has been found in proof-of-principle by the US National Cancer Institute to have an accuracy of .91, significantly higher than Pap cytology at an AUC of 0.78. MobileODT's EVA System will make AVE available to every healthcare worker on the planet, and ensure that every woman screened is directed to appropriate treatment and monitored to ensure her health.
Read more about MobileODT here.
Khushi Baby - 2nd Place
800,000 children in India die every year from vaccine preventable disease. Over 60,000 mothers die from preventable causes related to pregnancy. The issue however is not how many people are falling through the cracks. The deeper issue is that we don't know which mothers and children are falling through the cracks. The health system as it stands, on a foundation of slow paper-based entry, poor supervision, poor follow-up is not enough. Even with digital health systems in place, we can do much better. Rajasthan's e-health database, the Pregnant Woman and Child Health Tracking system, had 2.3 million mothers over the last five years lost to follow-up according to a recent CAG report. We care about this problem because everyone deserves a shot at life, and we as a society are defined by how we care for those who are most vulnerable – in this case the mothers and infants living at the last mile. We are on a mission to transform health care at the last mile by making the system accountable. We designed Khushi Baby (KB) as India's go-to, rural-ready Electronic Medical Record system and Community Engagement Platform for maternal and child health. The KB solution provides patients with a digital health record- specifically, a culturally-symbolic necklace with Near Field Communication chip. This record is better-retained, battery-free, waterproof, durable, and costs 50 INR. Frontline health workers can update this record with the use of our tablet-based Android Application by simply scanning the necklace. Data is synced to a Dashboard, allowing District Health officials to download real-time, actionable reports from to health worker performance to supply side failures. Automated voice call reminders are sent in the local dialect to patient families to ensure adherence to their specific full course of checkups.
Read more about Khushi Baby here.
DoctHers - 3rd Place
Over 300,000 licensed female healthcare providers (HCPs) are transitionally or permanently excluded from the global health workforce. doctHERs reintegrates these women by using a digital health platform to connect remotely-located female doctors to health consumers in need via trusted intermediaries such as tablet-equipped nurses, midwives and frontline health workers via assisted HD video-consultation.
doctHERs uses the power of technology and the potency of the human touch to transcend sociocultural barriers that discourage women from participating in the workforce. By creating a more agile workforce on the supply side, doctHERs is able to match the underutilized capacity of female doctors ('doctHERs') to the unmet needs of millions of underserved Pakistanis including those in corporate value chains (smallholder suppliers, distributors, retailers, micro-retailers, including their spouse, children and parents).
Frontline health workers (community health promoters, nurses and midwives) are recruited, trained and equipped with technology - hardware, software and wifi/broadband connectivity. They are then deployed in corporate offices, factories, retail clinics and ambulances where they are able to connect health consumers (especially female workers who otherwise have highly restricted access to women's health) to remotely located female doctors. These trusted intermediaries are trained to conduct sophisticated diagnostic and interventional procedures such as antenatal ultrasound under the supervision and guidance of a remotely located female doctor.
In collaboration with large MNCs such as Unilever & Reckitt Benckiser, doctHERs has provided over 45000 paid video-consultations to low-income workers in corporate value chains including 6000 consultations that have focused on educating low-middle income women on breast cancer, breast self-examination and mammography.
Read more about DoctHers here.
We also had insights from our lead partners, AXA and Sanofi!
Click HERE to learn more about the Top 10 finalists of the Women & Access to Health Call for Initiatives!