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Service design improves women’s maternal healthcare services in Nepal

Updated: Sep 17, 2020

"Service design to improve women's maternal healthcare services in Nepal" Project received a Service Design Award 2019 in the “Student Award” category. The award ceremony took place at this year's Service Design Global Conference in Toronto in October. “We believe that service design can be used to help people and create change. It can change lives. We believe that impactful services can change attitudes, points of view and even behaviors”, claim the young service designers Ida Christine Opsahl, Julie Nyjordet Rossvoll and Nora Pincus Gjestren from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. They co-designed and created a new healthcare service for postnatal home visits which has received enough funding to become a 6-month pilot.

In Nepal, it takes an individual 1 hour to walk from the bus stop. A woman there is responsible for taking care of the cattle, for all the housekeeping, for taking care of the children, her husband, and her in-law family. She is seen as a utility. The family makes her decisions and she lives to serve them the best way she can. Moreover, 1 in 5 women in Nepal is subject to mistreating and sexual abuse by their husbands after delivery. Many of those women do not even realize that this is abuse.

While mapping the challenges, the service designers uncovered great neglect – very few people were aware of some common risks and complications. It appeared that less than 20% of new mothers attend the 3 recommended check-ups after delivery. So, the designers decided to create a service that can increase the postnatal checkup rates in rural areas of Nepal. Their service eliminated the challenges related to transportation, finances, cultural and hierarchical constraints.

Their project also aimed to spread awareness and inform the families on how to take better care of the mothers and newborns through direct and inclusive learning to encourage change in the behavior of those making the decisions in the families. The service is 75% scalable in the rural areas and is tailored to help specific people at a specific period of their lives. However, the creators of the project believe that service designers should not be limited by culture or geography to create a positive change that they want to see in the world.

The Service Design Award, which was founded in 2015, is the most prestigious award honoring service design excellence from around the world. Every year the Service Design Network welcomes submissions from professionals and students eager to share the valuable contributions they have made to enrich the practice of service design. All completed entries are evaluated by an international jury of service design experts and judged based on established benchmarks of world-class service design. The benefits of submitting your work are countless, starting from free publicity for your brand, access to a broader audience to vital connections for business growth and credibility. This year’s winners gained international recognition, trophy and winner's badge, the ability to present their project to more than 650 professionals, one-year free membership in the Service Design Network and many more perks and privileges.

- Fabrica 360, case study from the Service Design Global Conference


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