To study the possibility of high-quality maternal health care in the remote villages of Wayanad District, Kerala, India through technology (IoT devices and telemedicine software) in partnership with Amrita Serve, the Olivewear team visited the remote tribal regions of Wayanad District in the first week of August 2017.
We reached Wayanad on an overnight bus journey from Bangalore covering 283 km. We got down at Mananthavady at 4 am and walked to the Amrita Ashram. After receiving warm greetings from the team at the Ashram, at 9 am, we started to Vellarumkunnu village in a jeep.
We traveled to the foothills of Vellaramkunnu and reached the Amrita resource center on foot. The Amrita resource center has around 400 sq ft of space for primary health care and health checkups. It is at a reachable point from the village. Space is run by Mr. Hari, who is a social worker, and his wife.
Interaction with the pregnant women
We interviewed 7 pregnant women of Vellarumkunnu, some of whom were carrying their 3rd child. Most of the pregnant women were under 18. During our interview with each one, we understood the following pain points:
1. Complete ignorance about basic maternal and child health
2. Refrain from monthly checkups because of the distance and the difficulty in travel to access the nearest hospital
3. Suffering from Malnutrition and underweight
4. Lack of periodical maternal care
After this interview, we visited the Vellaramkunnu tribal village, where 70+ families lived. It was a hike from the foot of the village, including travel through dense forests. During our travel, we understood the plight of pregnant women and their difficulty to reach ‘primary healthcare centers for regular checkups.
Action-Plan for Vellarumkunnu
After the study and the counsel of our in-house gynecologists and Amrita SeRVe’s physicians, our milestones for the pilot would be the following.
1. Set up a process and provide a telemedicine platform
2. Workflow documentation along with feedback
Metrics of health engagements with pregnant women (7 women) to meet WHO standards of Positive pregnancy experience
This initial visit and the first-hand experience of the situation of the pregnant women of Vellarumkunnu has given us a deeper understanding of the plight of pregnant women and general health care in remote regions. Our focus, now, would be to materialize the vision of ‘Project SaveMom’ in these regions and assist them in their maternity journey.