Nivedha Kannapadi

Nivedha Kannapadi is a new Why We Care Youth Champion, and winner of the Photo Category in the Why We Care Youth Contest. She is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and is currently studying nueroscience at the University of Virginia

The women in this picture are from a remote village in Sakharshet, Jawhar in Maharashtra India, staying in their hospital’s obstetric and gynecology ward. Due to the hospital’s distance from their homes, all the women pictured suffered from birth complications, many of which were preventable through family planning which could have helped them delay and space their births to reduce complications. Since reproductive health is such a taboo topic, these women lack knowledge of general health which often leads to dire health consequences and subsequently to the inability to plan their futures.

 

This picture shows a focus group discussion at the Malpe clinic in Manipal, Karnataka, India. Many of the questions posed to the women were designed to elicit their attitudes towards reproductive healthcare and cancer screenings. During this discussion, I learned much about the barriers to healthcare that these women face, from oppressive husbands to unsupportive neighbors to arrogant doctors. Towards the end, the women bombarded us with questions about their reproductive system that they had never received answers to. Here, the women of the group and I, are watching the doctor explain the difference between a urethra and a vagina.

This picture shows a focus group discussion at the Malpe clinic in Manipal, Karnataka, India. Many of the questions posed to the women were designed to elicit their attitudes towards reproductive healthcare, including cancer screenings. During this discussion, I learned about the barriers to healthcare that these women face, from oppressive husbands, to unsupportive neighbors, to arrogant doctors. Toward the end, the women bombarded us with questions about their reproductive system that they had never received answers to. Here, the women of the group and I are watching the doctor explain the difference between a urethra and a vagina.

 

This picture shows me holding my 15-day-old baby cousin, born in Virginia, United States on June 17, 2015. She, like me, is blessed to grow up in a country that educates many of their youth about their own reproductive systems, contraception, and responsible sexual behavior. My cousin will have access to family planning services, expert gynecologists, and hospital equipment during birth, among many other luxuries. Of course, the United States is far from perfect in their reproductive rights, but countries like India are miles behind us. The time I spent with the women in India this summer has shown me why I care.

 

Nivedha is 19 years old, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, attending University of Virginia and majoring in Neuroscience. “Inspired by the powerful and tragic stories of reproductive health inequality worldwide, I hope to motivate other young people to care about this important issue and to become change-makers in this field,” Nivedha said. “I am extremely passionate about transforming reproductive awareness from an obstacle to a right for women across the globe. As a WWC Youth winner, I am very excited about sharing my passion and meeting individuals who are working to make a difference in reproductive healthcare.”