Rising penetration rates of digital technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are allowing healthcare providers, development organizations, and private companies to overcome barriers and better address health-related needs. This includes supporting more girls and women in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) with their family planning needs using digital technology. From text-based services to chatbots, online consultations, and online portals, digital solutions have been among the tools created by development organizations and health providers to complement existing services. And digital innovations not only provide tools and information but can capture data from multiple sources to improve solutions for important family planning activities like ''supply chain visibility''.
It is essential to provide girls and women in LMICs with accurate information in order for them to lead healthy lives, promote Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) and well-being and improve their access to health services. Finding new and better ways to reach girls and women matters, because we know that unplanned or unwanted pregnancies can lead to major health risks for both mothers and their babies, as well as reduced access to social and economic opportunities. But a company cannot achieve a goal like this alone, and innovations are needed for true success.
In line with this, here are a few examples of our current digital partnerships in family planning.
Bayer signed a 2-year partnership agreement with UNFPA India, which will focus on a comprehensive program aimed at providing sexual and reproductive health rights services to adolescents, youth, and couples in India. This flagship program is called “my rights - my choices”. It will cover 4 districts in 2 states. The program will be built on a blended approach of adopting a digital platform, namely an AI-enabled chatbot, as well as a health system strengthening model. The projected reach of this AI-enabled platform is estimated to be at about 6 million individuals by 2027. The collaboration between Bayer and UNFPA India is part of a larger program described in the Memorandum of Understanding which Bayer has signed with UNFPA headquarters.
Conversation with Ariane de Hoog of Bayer and Alalu Hassan (Titi) founder Zuri Health
Bayer has also signed with Zuri Health in Sub-Saharan Africa. Zuri Health is a virtual health platform which provides affordable and accessible healthcare services across Sub-Saharan Africa via mobile app, website, WhatsApp bot, and SMS service. They have built a virtual hospital comprised of an app, website and a chatbot. The mobile app gives users access to pharmacies, labs and diagnostic options, and their telemedicine services include medical consultations with healthcare practitioners. Contraception and family planning will now become a key focus for Zuri Health, through our partnership. In the next 6-months, and beyond, we plan to take key steps forward with Zuri in reaching thousands more women in Kenya and later in other Sub-Saharan African countries.
The goal of this collaboration is to empower young Kenyans to make informed decisions regarding their Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) by providing them with access to the appropriate information, and services. We believe every young person should have the right to have control over their future. Lifeyangu digital platform provides the youth with an opportunity to not only know about their contraceptive options, but it also supports them to locate Family Planning (FP) clinics near them. LifeYangu, promotes health-seeking behavior by the youths through the creation of a sustainable online digital platform that will empower the youths (18-28 years) to access SRH information as well as to locate Health Centers that offer SRH and FP.