Healthcare for mums and babies. In that order. Oh, and you can leave your mum guilt at the door.
Dr Hannah Allen discusses the healthcare crisis that led to Tinto, the app for modern motherhood.
Ten minutes, multiple concerns, a mum, a baby, and a pandemic. What sounds like the beginning of a bad joke is my frustrating reality.
Let me introduce myself. I am a medical doctor first and foremost. I meant every word of the Hippocratic oath. I take care of others. I make life and death decisions every day.
But increasingly, my responsibility as a doctor seems mismatched with a healthcare system that is no longer fit for purpose. Whilst working in one of the most deprived areas of West London, I was alarmed by how many pregnant women and new mums needed help with both their physical and mental health. But what I was finding even more problematic was that, most of the time, the majority of women who came to see didn’t need to see a doctor at all. What they wanted and needed was another mum to talk to.
That’s where Tinto comes in. We launched the Tinto app to empower mothers with fast, reliable and personalised advice. From their pockets. 24 hours a day. In other words, my desire to provide accessible, trustworthy support to mothers all across the world stemmed from an absolute need.
When it comes to healthcare, women are systematically ignored, dismissed and pushed aside.
We all know that women are the major caregivers. But did you know that they also lead the frontline of healthcare, making 85% of all decisions? In fact, women also have significantly more complex wellbeing needs than their male counterparts. So, at every level, healthcare is female.
Despite this, women’s health has been repeatedly neglected by society. Women continue to suffer under a system that was created in 1948, set up to take care of ten million fewer women than we have today. Although pregnancy, childbirth and the early years can be the most joyous time for many women, all too often it can be isolating, frightening and guilt-ridden.
30% of mums suffer postnatal depression, and yet referrals for psychological therapy can take months, if not half a year. Suicide remains the leading cause of direct death among new mothers. Throw in the wider psycho-social effects of a pandemic and you’ve got a healthcare crisis stacking on top of a healthcare crisis.
Childbirth doesn’t stop for a pandemic. A baby with colic or reflux would be forgiven for missing the memo on the hysteria of the outside world. Mothers continue to be mothers. Life goes on. What concerns me most is not necessarily the immediate effect of the pandemic on maternal mental health but the long-term fallout. We simply do not have the level of care provision to cope with this pressure. We are clearly not doing enough to support women before they reach crisis point. We need to act now in order to put a halt on the catastrophes for women, children and families as whole.
Enough is enough. Say hello to Tinto.
It takes a village, right? But in a world that claims to be more connected than ever, the reality of that village is becoming more distant and fragmented for most women.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Our mission at Tinto is to give women control of their own physical and mental wellbeing as they embark on motherhood. Whether they’re battling with mental health, breastfeeding or pelvic health, we offer trustworthy advice from mums and experts who really know their stuff. So that, ultimately, women get heard. No more one-size-fits-all advice. Just personalised answers so that every connection is meaningful.
Never before has there been a medically credible online space for women to turn to when they need support. I am really proud of the front-line work we’re doing to help support a healthcare system that is on its knees. Because women deserve better. Not when the NHS recovers, or the pandemic is over. But right now.