Newsday Tuesday – App for Women’s Health in Bangladesh


April 28, 2015

Imagine having questions about your health but not having a source for answers. For women in Bangladesh, this has been a reality because of social stigma attached to women talking about health problems.

Maya Apa is helping with this problem. No, that’s not a person—it’s a mobile app for women in Bangladesh who need to seek out advice health or social and legal issues.4.28p1

Needing only an email address to register, users are able to maintain complete anonymity as they submit their questions. Responses to questions are generally provided, often in blog posts, within 24 to 48 hours by a team of experts including doctors, lawyers, and counselors.

An article from PRI (Public Radio International) explains the benefits of this android-based app, including how it can be instrumental in empowering women. Typically in Bangladesh, the only time it’s acceptable to discuss a woman’s health is during pregnancy. Shahana Siddiqui, Head of Content and Communications, speaking to the New York Times says, “Maya provides a platform where women can freely speak about their emotional, medical, legal, and social needs anonymously, without being judged.”

4.28p2In Bangladesh there are approximately 300,000 online searches each month with questions about pregnancy, which shows the need for trusted resources so women can make informed choices. The app’s creators look forward to continuing to build Maya, online and offline, by being able to partner with governments, NGOs, and medical facilities, and want to reach students of all ages by providing workshops in schools and universities.

The creative team behind Maya won a prize in the Best Startup Category at the Bangladesh Brand Forum’s Inspiring Women Awards in 2015.

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Read the full story from Public Radio International, and watch the TED Talk given by Maya’s founder, Ivy H. Russell, who is eager to continue building the app. Maya Apa is a free app available for download from Google Play.  The app is run in partnership with BRAC, an incredible Global Moms Challenge partner. You can learn more about BRAC’s work in Bangladesh here and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

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