"The Janam app helps with patient activation"
The Janam app, available at no cost, offers pregnancy-related information in six different languages.
Furthermore, it utilises visual aids, such as diagrams and videos, to illustrate medical procedures and treatment methods.
“Janam” translates to “birth” in numerous South Asian languages.
The app provides message translations in Gujarati, Punjabi, Urdu, Bengali, and Hindi, in addition to English.
The intention behind this app is to empower South Asian patients to make well-informed choices throughout their pregnancy, childbirth, and postnatal care.
Noorjahan Islam Chowdhury, a mother of four, who tested the app in Bengali, expressed her enthusiasm, describing it as “incredible” for South Asian women who are not proficient in English.
She shared her personal experience, stating that one of her previous pregnancies was particularly challenging due to her limited understanding of the English language. Speaking to the BBC, she said:
“I was thinking how am I going to give birth to this child?
“In my country, we don’t have sex education or learn how babies are born and I was too shy to ask anyone.
“Now with this app, I can just go on it and look up the information I need in my language.
“I think it’s amazing, to be honest.”
The University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL) and the University of Leicester collaborated on the app’s design.
They emphasised the concerning trend of limited participation by South Asian women in maternity services, which has been associated with elevated mortality rates.
Co-founder Professor Angie Doshani, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist within the hospital trust, underscored this issue by stating to the BBC:
“The assumption that a mother who speaks ‘good English’ understands all aspects of her care can lead to mismatches between the information given and what she understands.
“Cultural considerations are also important, as women from different backgrounds may have different expectations about their care options and may not be aware of the available support or how to access it.
“This can prevent them from making choices supporting their wellbeing and their babies and some mothers may feel hesitant to challenge clinicians or ask questions.
“The Janam app helps with patient activation, which means we are empowering the women with all the information they need during their pregnancy, the birth and postnatally.”
Healthcare professionals emphasised that the app’s purpose is not to replace in-person appointments or interpretation services.