Tales of women walking long distances just to get to a toilet so as to avoid open defecation or using unhygienic alternatives to a sanitary napkin have always horrified us. While we have always related these issues to rural India, women residing in urban India too face similar problems while travelling. Women’s healthcare and hygiene, though often discussed has also been ignored for long in the country.
From struggling to hide a sanitary napkin in the office, lest a male colleague sees it to being ignorant about the first symptoms of breast cancer, we have many issues, some that have been thrust upon us as a problem and some others that we haven’t created awareness about.
Indian start-ups though are not the ones to hide behind the taboos of the society. Entrepreneur India takes a look at the start-ups that are working towards improving women’s healthcare and hygiene.
For “That Time of the Month”
On a Monday afternoon, right when work was piling up, Lakshmi realises with a sudden pang in her stomach, it’s that time of the month. This is followed by Lakshmi walking around, asking her women colleagues in hushed tones whether they have a sanitary napkin. With the work pressure mounting, Lakshmi had forgotten “the date”.
Helping out women here are apps like Maya, which work as period trackers. They also have features like pregnancy tracker and can help you reach out to a doctor. While Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg had spoken about the start-up on social media, Google India’s top honcho Rajan Anandan too has invested in this start-up.
Another start-up invested in bettering periods for women is Saathi Eco Innovations Pvt Ltd. They are creating biodegradable sanitary pads that are made from banana fibre.
No More Bathroom Horrors
While travelling one of the biggest worries any woman has is public toilets. With toilets that are either in a shamble or without water, visiting a toilet on the road is dreaded by most women. The scare of contracting a Urinary Tract Infection too is what women face. Coming to the rescue of women at such places, there are start-ups like Peebuddy which help women pee while standing. Calling it a female urination device, the start-up’s product has a cup that helps women pee in public toilets without having to sit and come in contact with germs. Peesafe, another start-up, offers a spray which works as a toilet sanitizer.
Detection of Diseases
Healthcare start-ups are now helping women detect diseases early while also giving them tips on how to go about it. Breast Cancer and its early detection has been a matter of great concern in women’s healthcare. Tackling the same is Bengaluru-based start-up Niramai which with its low cost devices helps women with the early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer. Niramai uses Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in its low-cost device that can take high resolution thermal images, thus giving competition to the traditional mammography. According to reports, the startup has claimed that with its technology it can detect tumors five years before a mammography could.
A common infection occurring to women is Urinary Tract Infection because of unhygienic conditions. OmiX Labs’ platform has wide applications in clinical diagnostics that can test a variety of infections including UTI. They work on the detection of UTI at primary health centres and small clinics, with minimal resources.