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Mother's Day is a time to celebrate the incredible women in our lives and their invaluable role in shaping our families and communities. It is also a reminder of the challenges that many mothers face, including the unmet need for family planning services. There is ample evidence that family planning has numerous benefits for mothers ranging from better health outcomes, higher chances to survive childbirth, and greater economic opportunities. Yet women continue to suffer and die due to a lack of access to information and services related to family planning. The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 300,000 women die each year due to complications related to pregnancy and childbirth.
As per "National Family Health Survey VI", nearly 51 million couples in India have an unmet need for modern contraceptives, with women carrying the significant burden. The COVID-19 pandemic has only worsened this and caused major disruptions to family planning services due to lockdowns, travel restrictions, and overwhelmed healthcare systems. The silver lining is that the pandemic has accelerated technology adoption and highlighted the importance of digital health solutions to reach communities at scale and connect them to quality healthcare. One such innovative solution is the "askNivi" digital marketplace, freely accessible on WhatsApp, enabling users to get health information without in-person interaction and connecting them to quality healthcare services.
When the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, "askNivi" quickly scaled up and created COVID-19 conversations to address challenges in accessing family planning and reproductive health care. In partnership with organizations like Jhpiego, Clinton Health Access Initiative, Surgo Ventures, and PSI IPL, "askNivi" created demand and improved access to contraceptive services in multiple states. Through these partnerships, "askNivi" provided women with access to accurate and reliable information on family planning, contraception, and sexual health. It offered various services, including personalized counselling, information on contraceptive methods, and reminders for contraceptive use. It also connected women with local healthcare providers and clinics for access to services.
The askNivi chatbot is uniquely designed to allow for real-time insights into the users' behaviours, actions, and intentions, including their readiness and barriers to action, satisfaction with the quality of counselling, and overall facility experience. The images below show how "askNivi" enables us to complete the user journey loop and demonstrate the last-mile impact.
The below graphic from 2021 shows data from user interactions with “askNivi”, which reveals that 2251 users in Bihar had conversations about condoms, injections, IUCD, and sterilization, while 879 sought a contraceptive screening to identify the best family planning method for themselves and their partners. Moreover, 463, i.e., 13% of those who engaged with the platform, were referred to the nearby public health facility based on a method of their choice and convenience, substantially higher than the industry standard of eight percent for healthcare referrals.
The below graphic shows that half of the users could get a family planning method from a pharmacy. In contrast, half-faced barriers like financial limitations, prescriptions, stockouts, closures and fear of the virus.
This Mother's Day, let us celebrate the mothers in our lives and recognize the importance of innovative solutions like "askNivi" that make a real difference in the lives of mothers and their families in India. It is helping to address the unmet need for family planning services, reducing unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions, providing women with access to accurate and reliable information and encouraging men's engagement. Currently, in India, askNivi has over 807,440 active users. Nivi is committed to creating a long-lasting impact for better health outcomes; starting this year, we are accelerating our expansion in India in collaboration with health partners to reach more women and girls with life-saving information and access to quality healthcare. Click here to experience this journey on "askNivi", and send us a message here to know how Nivi can help your organization achieve better health outcomes.
About Nivi: askNivi has been created by a consumer-facing digital health company, "Nivi", that uses artificial intelligence, behaviour science, and cloud computing to provide health information, decision support, and referrals to users in Kenya, India, and Nigeria. askNivi has created 3 million conversations and engaged 1 million users globally. It has 11+ health topics and journeys and nearly 8 million data points on users' health journeys.
Senior Customer Growth & Partnerships Lead, Nivi Impact India
Priya is a seasoned social impact professional with over 17 years of experience delivering large-scale digital and non-digital programmes for Governments, philanthropists, UN agencies, NGOs, and private sector companies. She has co-authored publications in leading health journals on using technology and non-technology innovations for maternal and child health. At Nivi, Priya spearheads the company’s expansion in India within the social impact space to enable health partners to leverage Nivi’s platform as an end-to-end digital solution for social and behaviour change.