HealthTech and #HerFuture

On Tuesday, 11 July was World Population Day, established by the United Nations, to bring awareness to the urgency and importance of population issues, including women’s health and reproductive rights. This year, countries, policymakers, donors, and advocates from around the world also gathered in London for the second Family Planning Summit 2017, with a specific focus on improving vulnerable women’s access to health and family planning support, and the ability for every woman to plan for #HerFuture.

The Family Planning Summit 2017 #HerFuture campaign, gained momentum on social media and symbolised a broader movement emphasising that reproductive health and family planning are human rights and central to achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women. As established by the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), “fulfilling the rights of women and girls is central to development,” and must take into account the rights of all individuals and couples to obtain information, education and the means to plan one’s family.

According to the UN, around 225 million women who want to avoid pregnancy, are not using safe and effective family planning methods because of things such as insufficient access to health information and services, and even a lack of support from their partners and communities. In addition to family planning, access to information and support is critical for preventing and managing other women’s health issues.

New approaches and technologies can help fill this information gap, and help educate and empower women to make well-informed decisions about their reproductive health.

The Role of Technology in #HerFuture

For many of us, technology is part of our daily lives which we often take for granted, but for some women and girls in other communities, it can become a vital source of information, education, and support for making decisions about their reproductive health.

Gender Equality & Empowerment

Technology-based solutions can be particularly powerful when it comes to dealing with gender equality issues, like health and political empowerment, in different sociocultural contexts where women’s opinions are suppressed by society. In many countries, women still have an unequal voice in health care decisions, with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa reporting that over 70% of women said their husbands made the decisions when it came to healthcare. Technology can offer a safe and private space to women that want to obtain information about their reproductive health, without being stigmatized by others.

Bridging Information Gaps with Technology

According to the World Health Organization, 830 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. There are 44 births per 1000 girls aged 15 to 19 years, and more than 1 million sexually transmitted infections acquired worldwide on a daily basis. Providing access to health information and care through technology can save the lives of mothers who may have a complication during pregnancy, ensure that young women protect themselves against sexually transmitted diseases and prevent unplanned pregnancies.

Today there are many technology companies and initiatives around the world, developing solutions that address women’s reproductive health issues like fertility, pregnancy, sexual wellness, disease, treatment and prevention. The more ways we are able to reach women around the world and bring awareness to these topics, we can inform, relieve and prevent other issues that stem from poor reproductive health.

At Ada, we join the #HerFuture movement. We want to reach and provide all women around the world with relevant, personalised health information through an accessible conversational chat. In this way, by using our Ada app, we hope women feel empowered to make well-informed decisions for themselves and their families.