Give a Missed Call      Hello Saheli +918047104234

Free Menstrual and Sexual Reproductive Health Knowledge &  Tele-Gynaecology Consultations.

“Pads are not available in the shops, so I had to switch to cloth, even though I do not like it. The doctor’s clinic is closed, I don’t know what will happen if we fall ill."

Sangeeta, Bhopal

Impact of COVID-19 on Women and Girls in India

The impact of the global health crisis has been widespread and a recent UNICEF report¹ highlights the heightened adversity faced by women and girls during this time. Building on global research, our team conducted a remote assessment to evaluate the impact COVID-19 has had on women and girls across urban poor communities in India. Our analysis identified key challenges specific to women's health, in particular menstrual and sexual reproductive health.

Sexual Reproductive Health:

  • Clinical staff and resources diverted to COVID-19 response limiting availability of services
  • Health facilities in many places are closing or limiting services
  • Women are refraining from visiting health facilities due to fears about COVID-19 exposure or due to movement restrictions
  • For every 3 months the lockdown continues, assuming high levels of disruption, up to 2 million additional women are at risk of developing sexual reproductive health issues
  • The number of unintended pregnancies will increase as the lockdown continues and health service disruptions are extended
Menstrual Health & Hygiene:
  • Disrupted access to menstrual hygiene materials, particularly disposable menstrual hygiene materials that require monthly replenishment
  • Limited access to critical information related to menstruation or women’s health due to disruption in routine health services
  • Increased stigma around menstruation during limited space and movement for menstruating women

¹UNICEF 2020

Validating the Needs of Women and Girls

In April 2020, we conducted a 21-day pilot across urban poor communities in Bangalore and Bhopal to delve deeper and identify specific health challenges and concerns held by women and girls.

The pilot consisted of a needs assessment, a tele-menstrual & sexual reproductive health helpline anddigital mapping of available women's health services. These activities uncovered that women and girls urgently require:

  1. Access to menstrual & sexual reproductive health knowledge
  2. Access to women’s healthcare professionals
  3. Knowledge of menstrual hygiene and sexual reproductive health product availability
  4. Support of males within their households

Our Response

The Sukhibhava team redesigned our existing grassroots intervention to address the critical needs of women and girls in a COVID-19 context. We identified four key solutions and developed the emergency helpline Hello Saheli to bring them together.                                                           

 1. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) based Menstrual & Sexual Reproductive Health Education (MHH & SRH)

  • We've created a series of 24 contextualised audio clips (in the form of jingles, roleplays etc.) called Sukhi Raho Sakhi to share knowledge and awareness around common MHH & SRH issues, health practices and conversations. Through Hello Saheli, women can opt-in to receive a call each day or twice a week to hear all 24 clips over a number of weeks
  • Accessible in two local languages (Hindi & Kannada) via audio recordings to overcome literacy barriers
2. Menstrual & Sexual Reproductive Health Helpline

  • Contextual and credible information on understanding period irregularities, period pain management, nutrition, hygienic practices with available materials and more
  • A safe space conveniently accessed at the caller's discretion where they can maintain anonymity
  • Helpline Assistants speak three local languages (Hindi, Tamil & Kannada)

3. Free Tele-Gynaecology Services

  • Our Helpline Assistants are able to connect callers to an accredited healthcare professional and facilitate a tele-health consultation to address clinical health concerns
  • Encourage women and girls to prioritise their health in spite of COVID-19 constraints
4. Promoting Positive Gender Roles

  • Key to promoting positive gender roles within an urban poor context is understanding how to share and manage stress. Our IVR audio clips are tailored towards men to acknowledge the stress and uncertainty they are experiencing during the COVID-19 crisis while raising awareness about the largely invisible stress that women and girls are experiencing
  • Hello Saheli strives to create a space of trust and confidentiality to encourage men to be vulnerable about stressors in their life
  • To identify non-violent ways to resolve conflict and reflect on the importance of strong relationships during a crisis
  • To provide gender counselling and support men and women in their journey to understanding how men can support women and girl's health and wellbeing


What is Sukhibhava's mission?

To make menstruation a non-issue in marginalised communities across India.

What does Sukhibhava do?

Sukhibhava works with urban poor and rural communities across India to end menstrual stigma and improve menstrual hygiene practices, sexual reproductive health-seeking behaviour and mobility of women and girls. We create safe spaces to encourage dialogue around these taboo topics in communities and schools, partnering with state governments, teachers, front-line workers, men and boys to spark awareness and sustain a change in knowledge, attitude and behaviour towards women and girls.

Who does Sukhibhava work with?

In a largely product driven menstrual hygiene space, Sukhibhava believes access and affordability to products is one part of the issue while the larger issue is lack of access to information, and having conversations around menstruation. We are currently working with women, girls, men, and boys in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. We have previously worked in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu. We are looking at working with a community as a unit, and hence, have started engaging with men and boys in these spaces as well.

In our pre-COVID intervention, participants engaged in a 4 point module and 2 point follow-up module over 1.5 months that covered menstrual health and hygiene holistically. One of the primary reasons why a natural, biological phenomenon which half the world’s population experiences, is a subject of taboo is because of lack of awareness and the stigma that comes with having to discuss menstruation. Numerous studies report girls being caught unawares by menarche, and their subsequent feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, disgust and anger.

What is Hello Saheli?

Hello Saheli is our four-point response to the issues faced by women and girls during COVID-19 (see Our Response above).

How can I become a partner?

Click the 'Become a Partner' button on this page.

Who is an ideal partner?

We're looking for existing community based organisations working in a Hindi or Kannada speaking region, who share our passion for women’s health. They should have experience working with a minimum of 10,000 households and assign one staff member who can work directly with the communities for a period of three months as a 'Community Ambassador'. 

What will be my role as Sukhibhava’s partner?

Community Outreach
Help spread the word about Hello Saheli in your communities, build a database of phone numbers of families and ensure people are calling the helpline with their concerns.
Mapping Sexual & Reproductive Health Services & Products
Map and maintain resource points of sanitary pads, contraceptives and accredited gynaecologists in the area. This information will be made available via the helpline.
Prescription Handover
Print the prescriptions and ensure they reach the patients after their tele-gynecology consultation.
Hello Saheli Ambassador
Assign one of your staff as a Community Ambassador to coordinate and ensure the intervention is completed successfully.

How does Hello Saheli work?

Women are encouraged to give us a missed call on +918047104234 and they will receive a call back (ensuring that the call is free of charge). They can choose to proceed in Hindi or Kannada. Hello Saheli provides them the option to enroll to Sukhi Raho Sakhi, where they will receive regular calls with engaging 1-2 minute audio recordings sharing MHH & SRH knowledge or connect to a helpline agent to speak about a health concern. If this is clinical concern, women will be scheduled a tele-health appointment with a gynecologist or general practitioner, and our helpline assistant will facilitate this consultation to resolution. Doctors may request a 7 day follow-up consultation, in which case we will arrange another appointment and continue to facilitate until their concern is resolved.

Who will answer if I call the helpline?

Our extraordinary field team have been re-trained as helpline assistants, each an expert in creating a safe space and providing credible and contextualised self-care advice. They have been extensively trained in identifying clinical queries, and will be able to escalate the call to an accredited gynecologist if required.

Will I get medical assistance on the call?

Yes! If a caller presents a clinical issue, our helpline assistants facilitate a tele-health consultation with an accredited doctor. If a prescription is generated, we work with our partner organisations to have this printed and delivered to the woman's doorstep.

Can I call the helpline if I am a man?

Absolutely, our mission is to initiate dialogue to end menstrual stigma - we encourage men to dial in and learn more via Sukhi Raho Sakhi or connect with our helpline assistant if they have a women's health query.

Our Core Team & Board Members

Dilip Pattubala

Co-Founder & CEO

Meenal Khare

Head of Operations

Aditya Gupta

Head of Strategy & Design

Bhuvana Balaji

Head of Training, Learning & Development

Sowmya Muniswamy

Operations Lead

Priyanka Bhardwaj

Operations Lead

Samridha Sarkar

Operations Lead

Pragna Shekar

Training, Learning & Development Lead

Richa Khobragade

Executive Coordinator

Laxminarayana K

Board Member

Chief Endowment Officer

Azim Premji Foundation

Danielle Keiser

Board Member

CEO & Executive Director

Menstrual Health Hub

Sukhibhava is proudly supported by:

For more information about Hello Saheli: