SEHAT KA BATUA
The Health Purse. A purse that not only protects your money but protects you from the dangers of Breast Cancer as well. The best way to affect any behavior change is to ride on existing cultural behavior. A 'Batua' is a traditional Indian women's purse. Women in rural India have a unique practice when it comes to protecting their money - they keep their purses in their blouses. Could this unique habit also help protect them from breast cancer? Riding on this age-old habit, we designed purses with illustrative visuals of women checking themselves - which served as a reminder to perform the simple breast self-examination steps given inside. The purses were printed on skin-friendly cloth and designed using 9 famous Indian folk-art styles. The 'batua' thus became a purse that didn't just protect their wealth, but their health as well.
The Health Purses were given out as a part of Mahindra Rise breast cancer/health awareness drives in Madkepada, Belwadi, Kinipada, Katkariwadi, Sutarpada, Warkhanda among other remote villages in Maharashtra. These sessions started in March 2018 and continued through until May. Mahindra gets in touch with local healthcare workers to help set up the awareness camps in community centers and village health centers. They inform the women in the village in advance to ensure attendance at these sessions, which are conducted with the support of CPAA – Cancer Patients Aid Association. A typical session lasts around 2 hours, where women are taught how to perform a breast self-examination at home, before giving them the purses that serve as a reminder. The initiative is being scaled up to reach even more women in media-dark parts of the country.
In the first phase of this direct outreach programme, 2500 Health Purses were distributed to Rural Indian women across 6 villages. The impact can be gauged from the fact that:
a) The Cancer Patients Aid Association of India not only conducted
the health workshops in these 6 villages, they also distributed the Health purses,
a confirmation of the relevance of the messaging.
b) Both Mahindra Rise and the CPAA are committed to spread this
initiative to 130 more villages through the year.
c) The task of the programme was to help women understand the severity
of breast cancer, the need for self-examination and the necessity to remind
themselves to do this regularly. The Health Purse is a reminder tool and once
it replaces the existing purses in the womens' daily lives, the behaviour
change would have been achieved.