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Noora Health &

Noora Health &

Noora Health in India

Noora Health in India

LONDON, UNTIED KINGDOM, November 13, 2019 / -- An innovative social venture is using chat messaging platforms to improve clinical outcomes, reduce hospital readmissions, and ultimately ensure long-term sustainable health behaviour change in India.

Noora Health works towards empowering families of patients with high-impact medical skills to make them an important part of healthcare delivery. Noora partners with local governments and hospitals, leveraging validated video and print materials to create in-person training. This helps ensure families have the information they need to leave the hospital with confidence - and stay healthy. The Care Companion Program (CCP) developed by Noora Health is currently being implemented in 143 hospitals by local partners and state governments in India to improve outcomes and save lives of at-risk patients.

Partnering with has enabled Noora Health’s idea of a family-centred approach to healthcare delivery to go beyond just the hospital and into the very hands of patients and family members. Chat services like Whatsapp are now being effectively utilised to send valuable health information via text messages and video. The pilot phase of the partnership with is initially focusing on maternal and newborn health. This rich content engagement is enabling Noora Health’s local partners in India to reinforce health behaviour change in homes, well after families are discharged from hospital. This ensures a much greater, lasting impact on communities and their health.

‘Aarogya Seva’, loosely translated as ‘Healthy Service’ in Hindi, is the based messaging service that enables Noora Health’s local partners to continue to connect with families post-discharge.

Medical professionals, health behaviour change specialists, and user experience designers design culturally appropriate message content, flows and overall experience to deliver health messages for when families need them the most. Aarogya Seva also answers health related questions families may encounter once they return home, by allowing for two-way communication with trained and qualified health providers. As part of this, new mothers who have recently given birth and opt-in to Aarogya Seva begin to receive postnatal care messages detailing the importance of kangaroo mother care, exclusive breastfeeding, handwashing, diet, the prompt identification of potential warning signs, how and when to seek expert care and more.

The impact of Aarogya Seva is already being measured: since the launch of the service, close to 31,000 maternal health messages, rich in content, have been delivered. As part of Aargoya Seva’s service, a dedicated medical team has answered more than 1,500 questions asked by families. This practice continues daily.

This family-wide engagement with Aarogya Seva is crucial: Noora Health and its partners work to turn hospital hallways and waiting rooms into classrooms by tapping into the most compassionate resources available for the patient's care - the patient's own family. In partnership with state governments, this caregiver education programme has scaled in India - and has reached over 500,000 families at over 143 hospitals across both the public and private sectors till date. The programme has revealed tangible impact, with reductions in post-surgical complications by 71%, and readmissions by 24% in a cohort of patients.

“We teach the ones who care the most, about how best to care for their loved ones. Our work revolves around turning worried family members into skilled caregivers,” explains Shahed Alam, President at Noora Health. “Aarogya Seva takes that beyond the hospital, directly into patient’s homes and families, by ensuring the knowledge they need to improve their family’s health outcomes is available at their fingertips.”

This is especially crucial in a developing country that is home to nearly one-fifth of the world’s population, and where the dual burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases, combined with a significant shortage in public healthcare resources, poses an enormous challenge. Public health facilities in India are simply too overstretched, and too understaffed to meet the needs of its very large and diverse population. This creates major hurdles for patients and their caregivers, who must often wait hours just to speak to a healthcare provider. Even after a long wait, the average time that a doctor interacts with a patient in a public health facility in India is less than 2.5 minutes. More often than not, families and their caregivers return to their homes in rural and remote areas with little knowledge of how to provide basic care at home, how to identify warning signs, and what to do in the event of an emergency.

After attending the Care Companion Program training sessions, family members are able to practice skills and ask questions in the safety of the hospital, after which they eventually return home empowered with confidence and new skills. This new awareness in turn serves to improve health outcomes, reduce unexpected hospital visits, prevents complications, and in some instances, even death. The messaging platform, Aarogya Seva, ensures this continues beyond the hospital and reinforces the empowering family-centric approach to healthcare.

“These videos are very good,” said a 28-year-old father. “I learned new things which we didn't know before. As a father, I learned about how to take care of my wife and baby daughter after discharge. I have shown these videos to everyone at home.”

As Noora and its partners work to expand these services to reach more patients, the focus will be on utilising key insights from how patients and families interact with Aarogya Seva to continue to improve service offerings in the maternal and child health space. The goal is to roll out the service across additional health condition areas (cardiac, general inpatient, oncology) by 2021, thus reaching more than one million families.

“The innovative Aarogya Seva service is very effectively using to improve lives in India at scale,” says Gustav Praekelt, co-founder. “It’s playing an important role in helping us build strong evidence for as an enabler for both engagement and behaviour change in the global health sector, resulting in tangible impact in the lives of people who need it. We look forward to supporting and enabling Noora and its local partners in moving Aarogya Seva into other health areas as it scales even further.”

Lieze Langford
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