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

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

Around the earlier five a long time, Patil has skilled hundreds of ASHAs from diverse states to use WhatsApp to debunk fake info. 

Maya Patil, an ASHA from Maharashtra’s Kutwad village, claims she’s observed very similar optimistic results following making use of WhatsApp. She’s been working in the industry for 13 a long time, and in 2018 she met a female in her ninth thirty day period of pregnancy with slipping hemoglobin levels who had lately been diagnosed with anemia. She experimented with to link the woman to the pertinent general public medical doctor, but the relatives needed her to use organic approaches to increase her hemoglobin amounts.

Patil requested the pregnant girl to start off ingesting pomegranate juice, which has been proven to maximize hemoglobin stages, but her mother stated pomegranate juice causes kidney stones. Patil experimented with for various several hours to demonstrate the science, but the loved ones was not persuaded, nor have been they interested in anemia remedies.

As a habit, Patil experienced been getting pics of hundreds of regional newspaper article content addressing prevalent overall health misinformation that were being penned by medical doctors. In a person, she located aspects about the positive aspects of pomegranate seeds and juice. She despatched the expecting lady the report in a WhatsApp message. Then she uncovered a lot more relevant YouTube video clips recorded in Marathi, the woman’s language. Just after 10 these kinds of messages, she lastly had an effects the household allowed the lady to adhere to her suggestions, and within 12 days, her hemoglobin concentrations had increased. 

They worked with each other for three months, and when the girl gave beginning, it was a typical shipping with a wholesome newborn weighing six-and-a-50 % lbs.

Building a safer place for females

However they experienced productively tackled a good deal of misinformation about several years, quite a few ASHAs have been nevertheless observing pregnant women who ended up way too afraid to speak about their pregnancies for anxiety of their in-regulations and husbands. Even in massive, ASHA-led team messages, quite a few gentlemen in the neighborhood responded with “ill-knowledgeable feedback,” claims Netradipa Patil, the ASHA union chief.

Maya Patil in the same way laments the persistence of hazardous healthcare information passed down by loved ones. “The principal intention of any bogus information similar to being pregnant is to make gals go through,” she says. “Many older females say that they experienced experienced these rituals for the duration of their being pregnant, so why should really the subsequent technology not face this?” 

Maya Patil sits speaking with one-on-one with an expectant mother
Together with making certain safer childbirth, ASHA personnel are also liable for delivering right postnatal health and fitness care to local community gals. Here, Maya Patil points out how to just take care of a new child.


So, in 2018 and 2019, ASHAs began to type hyperlocal all-females WhatsApp groups. With a lesser team of just 15 to 20 pregnant women of all ages and their shut woman relatives, Netradipa Patil would concentration on supporting them fully grasp the scientific elements of treatment. “It was complicated, but much easier than working with hundreds of people in one particular go.” Immediately after six months of examination runs, females in the groups even claimed chatting about misinformation in their homes.