HEGDE With hospitals overcrowded with COVID-19 inflicted patients, healthcare has suffered a hit. Maternal health and healthcare during pregnancy have been affected abundantly too.

India already records one of the worst maternal and child mortality rates. During this time, special care is being provided by the philanthropist and urogynaecologist Dr.Aparna Hegde at her urogynaecology facility center in Cama and Albless Hospital in Mumbai. This 5,000 square foot facility is just the beginning of her dream to establish a world-class center of excellence in Urogynaecology. Dr. Hegde and her team, even during the pandemic refrain from refusing healthcare to pregnant women and deliver approximately 15 babies every day.

“If a pregnant woman or a child comes in, we will take care of them. The hospital has been turned into a care facility with almost HEGDE 100 beds for mothers and children who have the virus, and we are committed to providing them with the best care we can. My colleague, the superintendent of the hospital, and I take turns doing rounds, as we do not want to expose the residents to the virus,” Dr. Hegde told Vogue in a Zoom conversation on Saturday.

She returned from the US a few years back after studying at Stanford University and the Cleveland Clinic in Florida. On return to India, HEGDE she decided to pay back to India by serving the pregnant population. During her residency at Sion Hospital, she noticed that the volume of
patients in India is one of the causes of neglected healthcare. She mentioned that she would often see patients the entire day but would still have patients waiting. Often heavily pregnant women would come with complications during the 8th or 9th month and she would notice
that these women had no access to guidance throughout their pregnancy.

She would lose mothers during labor or childbirth due to the complications and she would be left helpless. She did save many lives but that was nothing as compared to the magnitude of the issues ahead. In India, a mother HEGDE loses life every 10 minutes due to complications during childbirth. Around 300,000 infants every year live to see only the first 24 hours of their lives.

These conditions moved her to take a step towards helping to be mothers in slums and backward areas where they cannot afford treatment and guidance during the crucial period of pregnancy.

Her non-profit organization, ARMMAN (Advancing Reduction in Mortality and Morbidity of Mothers, Children and Neonates) that she founded in 2008 has four projects including, HERO (a
helpline facility) and mMitra ( mobile service that provides authentic information on the availability of ICU beds and facility of the blood bank to the registered women). Initially, it was
supposed to be an SMS service but the idea was modified when a survey conducted revealed that most women in slums or rural areas did not know-how see a message received or send one.

This project has affected 2.2 million lives. HEGDE Arogya Sakhi, is also a project of ARMMAN which was introduced when she noticed that women in absolutely backward places didn’t seek hospitals or
doctors for childbirth and depended on untrained individuals for the process which proved to be fatal, often.

Arogya Sakhi is a home-based care facility involving trained midwives and volunteers who provided supplements, medicine, and services to the deprived who were not willing or privileged to go to hospitals.

ARMMAN has affected over 18 million lives and with that, she has lived up to her motto of ‘science, service, and research.’ This humble, caring soul had realized at an early age that women’s lives are not taken seriously and she must change that. She is doing her part,
even during the COVID crisis, and serving the nation. Her Charity has taken to spreading awareness of COVID-19 and it’s prevention and care especially during pregnancy to the rural areas, through the project mMitra.

She is an example to us all. Our duties to give back to this earth is not to be ignored and we all must strive for service towards the society without hesitation.

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