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🎉 Happy Friday —it’s story time! 🌟

Meet Sneha Neurgaonkar, a 14-year-old ,Sneha recently made headlines as the first recipient of the Indian-made human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine at the Lalwani Mother and Child Care Hospital. Now, you might be wondering, what’s the big deal? Well, this vaccine is no ordinary shot—This vaccine, a breakthrough in the fight against cervical cancer, holds the potential to save countless lives, including Sneha’s.

Sneha’s not just rolling up her sleeve blindly; she’s done her homework. “I researched cervical cancer on Google and it’s bad,” she tells us. “Protection is very important because females are the leaders of the future generation and without them, there is no world.

Cervical cancer ranks as the second biggest cause of cancer deaths among women in India, claiming around 70,000 lives annually. Globally, it’s the fourth most common cancer in women, hitting hardest in low- and middle-income countries like India. 😔

But here’s the kicker: until recently, this vaccine was only accessible in private healthcare setups, costing a hefty 2,000 rupees for three doses. But hey, guess what? The government’s stepping up its game. Last month, they announced plans to include the vaccine in the country’s immunisation programme, making it FREE for girls aged nine to 14. 💪

And it gets even better – by December, the government plans to snag this vaccine at a fraction of the previous cost, making it available for just 300-400 rupees per dose. 

Back at Lalwani, Sneha and her mother, Sonia :

For Sneha and her mom, Sonia, there’s an extra layer of pride knowing their vaccine is homegrown. “If it is made in India, we have more trust,” Sonia shares.

Sneha’s been spreading the word among her friends, realizing that many of them are in the dark about cervical cancer. “Currently there’s not much awareness,” she admits. “We have not been taught about it in school. 

Her doctor, Sunita Lalwani, a consultant gynaecologist and obstetrician, concurs, reflecting on the historical taboos surrounding women’s health in India.

“I don’t think the government or families used to spend money on women’s health,” she explains. “It was only in [childbirth] or if the lady really fell ill where women were taken care of. Vaccination was never considered. Women’s health was very taboo.”

Advocacy is powerful, and knowledge sharing is supremely powerful.

Let’s keep spreading awareness 🚀 

Your Friend, 


💰Funding In India: FemTech, Wellness, and Fitness

  • Health-tech startup Kites Senior Care has raised Rs 45 crore ($5.4 million) in its Series A round led by Ranjan Pai, chairman of Manipal Education and Medical Group (MEMG) through his family office.
  • CureSkin, a beauty and personal care brand, has raised $20 million in a Series B funding round led by Healthquad. The round also saw participation from JSW Ventures, Khosla Ventures, and Sharrp Ventures.
  • The Ayurveda Experience (TAE), a D2C  skincare and nutrition brand, has raised $27 million in a Series C round led by Jungle Ventures, a Singapore-based VC firm focussed on early-growth stage companies in India and Southeast Asia.
  • D2C skincare brand Foxtale has raised Rs 119.5 crore (approximately $14 million) in a new round from Panthera Growth Partners (PGP), Matrix Partners, and Kae Capital. This is the first funding round for the Mumbai-based firm in 2024 and the second in the past two years.

🌎💸  Global Funding

  • Zephyr AI, Inc, a healthcare technology company committed to developing explainable Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions for precision medicine, closed a $111m Series A funding.
  • RealSeq Biosciences, Inc., a Santa Cruz, CA-based biotechnology company focused on RNA-based diagnostics, extended its Seed funding
  • Phagenesis, a Manchester, UK-based company which has developed a neurostimulation system to treat swallowing dysfunction, has closed a $42M Series D financing.
  • Myosotis, a Berlin, Germany-based digital healthcare startup, raised €8M in Series A funding.


  • A new breast cancer test, which may be able to accurately predict those at risk of their cancer spreading, is to be trialled in the UK. The test, which will be trialled at the University of Bradford’s Institute of Cancer Therapeutics, could mean those at low risk could avoid undergoing follow-on treatment as well as potentially save the NHS millions of pounds a year.
  • More than a billion people are living with obesity around the world, global estimates published in The Lancet show. This includes about 880 million adults and 159 million children, according to 2022 data
  • The first-ever over-the-counter birth control pill is now being shipped to US pharmacies. The Food and Drug Administration last year approved the birth control pill Opill to be available without a prescription for women of all ages.
  • Alabama lawmakers have passed a bill to protect in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) clinics and doctors from lawsuits and criminal prosecution. The state’s supreme court last month ruled that frozen embryos had the same rights as children, and people could be held liable for destroying them.
  • Global life expectancy dropped by 1.6 years between 2019 and 2021, a sharp reversal from past improvements, according to research published in The Lancet journal. The findings also included those of an ageing worldwide population. The study found that life expectancy declined in 84 per cent of countries and territories during this time. 
  • The COVID-19 virus can persist in the blood and tissue of the infected patients for more than a year after the acute phase of the disease has ended, according to a study.
  • Researchers at the University of Western Sao Paulo have discovered a potential link between curcumin, the main ingredient in turmeric, and the enhancement of beneficial bacteria in the guts of mice.
  • Private general insurer Future Generali India Insurance on Thursday launched a new product called ‘Health PowHER’ designed to address women’s healthcare needs at various stages of their lives.
  • The UK government has announced an almost £35m to boost maternity safety across England. The investment will be provided over the next three years in an effort to improve maternity services, which have seen a decline in performance in recent years.
  • Iron deficiency is one of the most common causes of anemia and its prevalence among Indian women is the highest in the world. Emcure Pharmaceuticals announced the launch of ‘Unmask Anemia’, an initiative to create awareness around iron deficiency anemia in India
  • Changing how children are measured for obesity to a new system could be more accurate, a study has concluded.It revealed the traditional method of using Body Mass Index (BMI) is not as useful in measuring fat as waist-to-height ratio (WHtR). Over a 15-year follow-up, 7,237 nine-year-old children were studied.

🌐 Global Companies:

  • The US health tech company DeepLook Medical has announced that its AI tool for breast cancer detection has received clearance for use in the UK.
  • The UK-based health tech company Forth has launched an “advanced” home testing platform capable of converting biomarker results into health scores.
  • Rosy, led by Dr. Lyndsey Harper, is expanding its platform beyond sexual wellness to encompass various aspects of women’s health.
  • Smart ring maker Oura  has recently launched Pregnancy Insights, a new feature designed to provide expectant mothers with comprehensive data-driven support throughout their pregnancy journey.

🤝 Our Ecosystem News:

  • PeeSafe, along with RedCliffe Labs came together to commemorate International Women’s Day by hosting a health checkup camp for over 200 people. 
  • On the occasion of International Women’s Day, Sirona created a campaign called #SironaBreakignTaboos, and collaborated with other brands to promote the concept of empowerment.
  • Newmi Care, on the occasion of International Women’s Day hosted multiple events with over 200 women and covered topics such as Breast Cancer, Financial, Mental Wellbeing,Physical Wellbeing, among others.
  • Neha Singh, founder of The Momly, attended a session with Inflection Point Ventures, Lucknow to understand the the startup and investing ecosystem.

🇮🇳 Government News

  • Urvashi Prasad, the director of Niti Aayog on Thursday said that the government is trying to make a conscious shift to cater to women’s health and well being much more holistically from the past
  • The medical devices industry has reiterated that it needs a separate pricing mechanism and a separate regulatory framework from how drugs are regulated in the country, in the wake of the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) constituting a committee to prepare a draft price control order for both drugs and medical devices.

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