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Dr. Aparna Hegde, Founder of NGO ARMMAN Features at Number 15 on Fortune’s List of World’s 50 Greatest Leaders

Dr. Aparna Hegde, Founder of the India-based non-profit ARMMAN, has been listed by Fortune as one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders. She is #15 and one of only two Indians on the prestigious list which features extraordinary achievers who stepped up during the pandemic to respond to the unexpected crisis. Other notable individuals include New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and activist Malala Yousafzai.

Dr. Aparna Hegde, Founder of NGO ARMMAN

Dr. Aparna Hegde is an internationally renowned Urogynecologist, social entrepreneur, published researcher and a TED Fellow. During her medical residency, Dr. Hegde witnessed closely how pervasive systemic problems led to preventable maternal and child mortality and morbidity. Unable to tolerate the status quo, she founded ARMMAN in 2008 while completing her medical training at Stanford University. ARMMAN leverages technology to improve health outcomes for underprivileged pregnant women and children in India.

Fortune has specifically highlighted ARMMANs quick response to COVID-19, along with their model that leverages technology to achieve scale. When COVID-19 struck, ARMMAN adapted its extensive technology platform and expertise and within a week, launched 4 COVID-19 interventions to support pregnant women, children and health workers. The pan-India free Virtual OPD (clinic) has provided over 14,000 pregnant women and children with free consultations with obstetricians and paediatricians via a toll-free number. 300,000 women living in urban slums in Mumbai have been sent weekly automated voice calls (and text messages) on critical COVID-19 related information directly on their mobile phones, in the local language. Free call-centre support along with a data repository has linked over 60,000 pregnant women & children with essential health services and facilities. ARMMAN has also sent critical information through calls/text messages to 800,000 health workers, in partnership with the government.

Dr. Aparna says, “I feel honoured and humbled to have ARMMAN’s work recognised by such a prestigious international platform. We are privileged to have partnerships with the national and state governments, on-ground NGOs and other organisations that have enabled this reach and impact. This recognition is an impetus for us at ARMMAN to continue augmenting and implementing our tech-based interventions for pregnant women, mothers, children and health workers across the country.”

About Dr. Aparna Hegde

Stanford University and Cleveland Clinic-educated Dr. Aparna Hegde is a Urogynecologist and ARMMAN’s Founder and Managing Trustee. Her commitment to maternal/child health was born out of preventable deaths witnessed during medical residency. She is Associate Professor, Urogynecology and Head of upcoming Urogynecology department at Cama Hospital, Mumbai-India’s first University-based Center of Excellence in Urogynecology. She is an NIH grantee with pioneering research in 2D/3D pelvic floor USG. Dr. Hegde received the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship in 2020 and is a TED Fellow 2020.


ARMMAN leverages technology to create cost-effective, highly scalable solutions to improve the health and well-being of under-served mothers and children in India. In partnership with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), ARMMAN is currently implementing the largest mobile-based maternal messaging program (Kilkari) and the largest mobile-based training program for frontline health workers (Mobile Academy). Programs implemented by ARMMAN have reached over 24 million women and children and 173,000 frontline health workers in 17 states of India. ARMMAN’s programs have been awarded by World Health Organization, British Medical Journal and GSK-Save the Children.

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