As part of Population Foundation of India’s Conversation Series, Biocon Executive Chairperson Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw participated in a panel discussion on understanding the vulnerabilities of women and girls, and addressing issues related to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and family planning (FP), which have been exacerbated due to the pandemic.

In her remarks, she said India has made considerable progress in achieving the goals set out in national policies and global commitments with regard to family planning, and in reducing maternal and infant mortality, yet there are several areas that require attention.

For example, 14% of pregnancies are among women below 20 years of age. Or the fact that ~30 million women are not able to use contraception due to various reasons.

She pointed out that as the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed health and gender inequity and inequalities in India, we need to fix this problem urgently with a specific focus on maternal and child health, as well as reproductive health.

“Digital health and technology can play a very important role in addressing many of these issues. From educating the adolescent population through digital tools and expanding access to sexual and reproductive healthcare to enabling healthcare providers with evidence based best practices. Digital platforms can also capture a lot more data than what we are doing right now to tell us what’s wrong and how to fix it,” she told the panel.

She talked about how Biocon Foundation is taking various initiatives to ensure proper nutrition for reproductive age group and pregnant women and counselling caregivers on a healthy diet for children under the age of five years.

“This is the time to put a lot of focus on the health of women, the health of mothers and the health of infants because that will determine the sustainable future of every country,” she added.

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