07/15/13 – Stories From the Field: This post is written by Grace Hanley, Tanmay Telang, John Striebel, and Maria Demirtshyan, all MBA students at Colorado State University in the Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise MBA program. They have been working with AYZH to develop a new maternal healthcare product, and is currently conducting research in India.
Our project seeks to find a business solution to the problem of postpartum hemorrhage (PPH), which kills more mothers in India than anywhere else in the world. In the last few weeks, we have conducted 35 interviews with government hospitals, primary health centers, private clinics, government officials, NGOs, and more, in some of the most rural, as well as some of the most populated, towns in this part of India. We have come to understand that PPH is very complex problem; it results from lack of infrastructure, lack of trained personnel, government bureaucracy, among many other issues.
Despite many difficult barriers to reducing maternal mortality, we have seen many examples of non-profits and government programs utilizing creative design principles to combat maternal health problems. In our second semester of GSSE, we had a class with Tim Prestero, the CEO of Design That Matters, which taught us about the importance of designing with the culture and end user in mind. In the last few weeks, we have seen those principles in action: we saw creative, low-cost training mannequins for PPH management, newborn kits made from locally-sourced materials and designed around the problems that the community is facing, as well as hospital building designs in a tribal region that reflect tribal culture and encourage institutional births. All of these solutions were developed over time with input from the local populations and flexibility on the part of the business or program.
Combatting some of the world’s toughest environmental and social issues takes training, knowledge, and creative thinking. Our team is applying lessons from the classroom and experiences in the field to come up with a PPH solution that serves the unique needs of the population. We will continue our studies in India through the end of July and we look forward to applying many more lessons to our summer practicum – all with the ultimate goal of saving mothers and babies.