Facilitate better understanding of the human body and it’s biological processes among couples so that they are able to make informed decisions for their health. This will further develop couples' understanding of their own fertility cycles, or risks of unwanted pregnancies and other biological processes and side effects of contraceptive use. Parallelly, also provide health system actors with the same understanding to serve couples more effectively.
Key Design Challenges
Providing couples with enhanced understanding of SRH to facilitate informed experimentation/ adoption of a single method.
Ensuring informed discussions on FP between partners in relation to their health and reproductive processes.
Knowledge of potential risks to health and contraceptive failures allow for proactive mitigation/ course correction when using contraceptive methods.
The field research suggested that most couples have a limited understanding regarding SRH and biological processes of - reproduction, conception and fertility. Contraception decisions were often taken based on this incomplete and incorrect knowledge and impacted the health of couples, especially women, such as unaddressed side effects of contraception. Some couples also shared experiences of unintended pregnancies and/or multiple abortions where fertility cycles were misunderstood or contraceptives were incorrectly used.
Key Design Decisions
Knowledge on SRH, pregnancy and reproductive health needed to be provided in a manner that best demonstrated to couples the relevant information in an engaging and visual manner. It needed to also address the prevailing myths around contraceptive use, sex and pregnancy while providing avenues to seek help as required. A parallel training of health cadres needed to be provided with the same understanding to serve couples effectively.Having right information at the right time will also be key for effectiveness of the ID.
A digital visualization tool 'Swaasth Saathi' that provides knowledge on sexual and reproductive health including knowledge on fertility windows, menstruation. It also provides information on the basket of contraceptive choices along with the know-how, side-effects and benefits,
This tool also provides a fact-checking platform to bust myths and correct misinformation. The tool will also act as a guide for couples entering parenthood for the first time and support them in navigating through its various stages.
A non-digital version of Swaasth Saathi that provides all the information as the digital version, but through physical and visual artefacts in the form of light manuals, chart papers, and leaflets used by the health system actors. The tool, for post-pregnancy purposes, will also act as a guide for young couples entering parenthood for the first time, and support them in navigating through its various stages.
The couples have sufficient time available to engage with the health system actors.
Couples are comfortable receiving information on SRH together. Mutuals and functionals are more likely to benefit from this since they have a certain level of gender equitability which makes coming together and knowledge transfer easier as compared to discordants who may not be able to effectively receive information together and may have to be intervened with separately first. Also, women who have covert use will have different implications.
Will stay limited to only those who have access to mobile phones, have the ability to read and write, have the time to input relevant information.
There is a private space in the house where couples are able to sit together and go through the app or interact with the health system actor on sensitive issues like sex, pregnancy, contraception etc.
For self-access, either one among the couple possess a smartphone and have the requisite skills to access the digital platform online.
Couples have a WhatsApp account and know how to use it.
Couples possess basic reading skills in the language being used to access the smartphone.
Couples possess basic reading skills in the regional language.
FLWs/HSAs have received gender transformative training and are trained to handle sensitive topics.
Once men have increased knowledge about women’s bodies and reproduction, they may monopolize agency over women’s bodies even more.
Risk of data privacy when data is uploaded onto servers, in the digital prototype.
Women may not be able to access the digital platform (lack of know-how and freedom) as their husbands and the knowledge gap between the couple may increase due to the digital divide.
Risk of violence against women if they do not agree on certain issues and the information provided contradicts with the woman’s experience or her understanding.
If men and women are still accessing the platform together at the same time, women may not be able to express and initiate conversations due to the underlying power dynamics.
The concept seeks to enhance the, currently in place, local health system which lies within the comfort zone of the users, however adding a layer of digital tools which increases the ease of access and conversation allows the tool to remain contextually sensitive while pushing the boundaries of tech use.
This app will provide couples a space to come together and learn about sex, reproduction, pregnancy and contraception. The shared space will help couples consume accurate and correct SRH knowledge together, which may initiate them on a path of shared decision making, especially when it comes to conception, fertility and family planning. It will also decrease the knowledge gap between man and woman and break the gendered silos in which information around these sensitive issues is presently consumed. Bridging this knowledge gap is a step towards gender equitability as our research shows that if two partners who have considerable knowledge on a domain are more inclined to have an equitable conversation . Only increased knowledge does not lead to informed decision making and neither greater involvement of women or men in decision making. It needs other enablers as well.
The use of this app allows both the husband and wife to visualise the medical journey of childbirth allowing the husband to empathise with his wife and then making equitable decisions that take both the partners into consideration. It also provides couples an opportunity to educate themselves and make informed decisions which take both partner’s comfort into account.