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Low-cost devices developed to reduce maternal mortality in India

Specialist doctors prefer low-cost devices to reduce maternal mortality and ensure better healthcare for women in India.

They feel that by using low-cost devices, quality healthcare can be provided to reduce the maternal mortality ratio in India where people live in remote and inaccessible areas.

On a pilot basis, the Federation of Obstetrics & Gynecologists Societies has introduced low-cost devices in partnership with Jhpiego, an affiliate of Johns Hopkins University, to train doctors in modern reproductive system and demonstrate the benefits of smart technology.

“There is an urgent need for low-cost technology to provide quality healthcare services in distant and remote areas where trained medical staff are inadequate,” Jhpiego vice president Harshad Sanghvi told about 500 delegates at the World Congress on Obstetrics and Gynaecologists recently.

Jhpiego has developed a labour monitoring tool, a hand-held device that allows recording of clinical observations, predictions of complications and quick decision-making.

The device includes a sensor module for partial automation of data collection and a telemedicine module to allow midwives seek guidance from distant clinicians. They also developed another low cost device – HemoGlobe – to detect anaemia among women without drawing blood.

According to the Federation president Hema Divakar, maternal death is a serious concern and the direct causes were haemorrhage (38 per cent), sepsis (11 per cent), hypertensive disorders (five per cent) and abortion (eight per cent), a category that can include indirect causes such as anaemia.

The Federation has also launched a fast track initiative – ‘Helping Mothers Survive’ (HMS) – to reduce the maternal mortality ratio. With 219 member societies and about 27,000 members from across the country, the 63-year-old federation is the largest apex body representing practitioners of obstetrics and gynaecology across the country.

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