These Canadian, women-run startups aim to seriously improve women's self-care
There are some pretty incredible companies in this country who are aiming to change the face of women's healthcare. And, it just so happens they're run by women, too! From tampon delivery services to at-home HPV testing, here are a few of the startups poised to make a huge impact in Canadian women's lives over the next few years.
Founded by Alyssa Bertram in June of 2016, this all-natural tampon delivery service believes in making periods easier and making sure women know what's actually in the tampons they use. Easy. (pronounced easy period) offers pads, tampons and panty liners that are certified 100% organic. The cotton meets Global Organic Textile Standards, they contain no synthetics, no plastics, no wood pulp and are also biodegradable. In addition to the menstrual products being delivered right to your doorstep, expect to receive some fair trade chocolate! Bertram's company donates 5% of profits to girls in Kenya; according to their site, "80% of girls in East Africa lack access to health education and sanitary pads, which contributes to girls in Kenya being 2x more likely to drop out of school than boys starting puberty." In addition to supporting women in developing countries, easy.'s NO SHAME campaign also seeks to empower women by spreading the word that periods are natural and nothing to be ashamed of.
Canada's first at-home HPV test is convenient, private and reliable – and it empowers women by eliminating many barriers that often prohibit regular pap smears. This Toronto startup was founded by Jessica Ching's company, Eve Medical, and seeks to redesign the screening process. According to their site, "In Canada, one in three women do not screen regularly for cervical cancer" and Eve Kit is on a mission to change this. By eliminating barriers such as not having a family doctor, being uncomfortable with visiting a clinic, or living too far away from a clinic, Eve Kit allows women to test for STIs from the comfort of their own home. The process is straightforward: you order the kit online and it shows up at your doorstep, you collect a vaginal sample with the device provided and it the sample is mailed to a clinic for testing. The shipping is pre-paid and you can access your results online. The HPV kit is $110 and the STI kit is $85. You can even make the test available to someone who may not be able to afford it by donating the money for a kit on their website.
Meet the Canadian company looking to break down the taboos surrounding vaginal dryness. For such a natural and commonly occurring issue, there was little research and very little available on the market to help women in need of what would become Damiva's products. CEO and co-founder, Chia Chia Sun, is a pharmaceutical business exec who is trained in epidemiology and cancer genetics. When she realized how few products were available on the market for women who experience vaginal dryness after childbirth, hysterectomy, cancer, menopause and peri-menopause, she decided to make a line of healthy products. Damiva's line is all-natural, made in Canada with only 6 ingredients and is the first product of its type in Canada to be chemical free and hormone free. After an appearance on CBC's Dragon's Den, the brand gained recognition and is now available at most drugstores across the country. Its branding is informative, with a side of wit in an effort to start a discussion on a topic that is too often kept hush hush.
Open Source Health's myAva
Open Source Health is a cloud-based precision medical system that provides digital tracking for women's health by using such techniques as self-reported health updates and e-health reports. It gathers data, analyzes, and harmonizes it through their digital system, called myAva. Basically, you add all of your health info, including biometrics and it tells you if you're trending towards health or disease. Not only does this basically serve as a digital version of you, but the real-time data has the potential for making patients proactive, ideally encouraging intervention and prevention rather than reaction. This continual monitoring and reporting is aimed to allow for "uncovering disease markers at an early stage allowing women and their providers to take a proactive approach to achieve optimal health."
If you've ever wished you could have all of your health-care records in one place, easily accessible by any doctor at any clinic you may visit, Huda Idrees, is looking to make your wish a reality. The Toronto startup veteran is the founder and CEO of a platform called Dot Health. Its goal is to collate a patient's records and make them actually accessible to the patient, all through an online service, and mobile app, using "bank-level security to encrypt, store, and transfer all your information." If you sign up you'll be able to search your own records to see if you're up to date on your shots, or if it's time for a pap, for example. This startup is geared not just towards women's health, but for all.