Culture and Technology

‘Let’s do polygamy’: A new dating app stirs debate in Indonesia

AyoPoligami aims to ‘bring together male users with women who are willing to make ‘big families’’.

Scrolling through dating websites a year ago, Indonesian app developer Lindu Pranayama realised there were a lot of married men looking for another wife – but few online services to meet their needs.

“When they go to regular dating sites, they don’t see options for polygamy. They don’t see options for finding second, third or fourth wives,” he said.

Enter “AyoPoligami” – a new smartphone app developed by Pranayama, which aims to “bring together male users with women who are willing to make ‘big families’.”

Loosely translated as “let’s do polygamy”, the Tinder-style dating app has already stirred up controversy since its April launch in Indonesia, where over 80% of the 250 million population is Muslim and polygamy is legal.

Muslim men can take up to four wives in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, if permission is granted by a court and the first wife gives her consent.

Court officials could not provide figures of how many people in Indonesia are polygamous, but activists say cases of men giving false information to gain permission and the manipulation of women are common.

The app had been downloaded over 10,000 times before it stopped registering new members following concerns of fake accounts being set up, and men using the site without the knowledge of their first wives.

A new version was to be launched on October 5 that would impose stricter rules on users, including requiring them to provide an identification card, marital status and a letter of permission from their first wives.

‘This is what god planned for me’

Iyus Yusuf Fasyiya, an Indonesian factory worker who has two wives, said he used the app to share tips with other users on how to maintain a polygamous marriage.

“Many members are looking for wives – they ask about how to start, how to maintain polygamous marriages, and also government regulations,” he said from his home village in Bogor, about a 90-minute drive from the capital Jakarta.

The 37-year-old dodged questions about whether he was using the app to look for another wife but said he continues to learn about polygamy, after he took on his second wife six years after his first marriage in 2000.

“It just happened, this is what god planned for me,” said Fasyiya, who takes turns to see his two wives and five children who live in nearby villages.

The majority of the app users were men, but there were also about 4,000 women who have registered, the app developer said.

Lawyer Rachmat Dwi Putranto, who deals with marriage matters, said polygamy is “not that easily achieved” as Indonesian courts will only give permission if the first wife is disabled, ill or cannot bear children.

Violence against women

But Indriyati Suparno, a commissioner from the government-backed National Commission on Violence Against Women, said the app was trying to “normalise polygamy”. She said, “The reality is women tend to be the victims of domestic violence in a polygamous marriage – polygamy is a form of violence against women.”

Indonesia’s Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Ministry said it was up to individuals if they wanted to use the app because polygamy is legal as long as it can be done in a fair manner.

“For us what is important is whether the women and children are protected in polygamous marriages,” ministry spokesman Hasan, who uses one name, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

User Fasyiya said he would continue to refer to the app to learn how to juggle his two families.

“Me and my wives, we are committed to showing people that polygamy is not as scary as they think,” he said.

“We’re trying to make it work.”

This article first appeared on Thomson Reuters Foundation News.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

What hospitals can do to drive entrepreneurship and enhance patient experience

Hospitals can perform better by partnering with entrepreneurs and encouraging a culture of intrapreneurship focused on customer centricity.

At the Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, visitors don’t have to worry about navigating their way across the complex hospital premises. All they need to do is download wayfinding tools from the installed digital signage onto their smartphone and get step by step directions. Other hospitals have digital signage in surgical waiting rooms that share surgery updates with the anxious families waiting outside, or offer general information to visitors in waiting rooms. Many others use digital registration tools to reduce check-in time or have Smart TVs in patient rooms that serve educational and anxiety alleviating content.

Most of these tech enabled solutions have emerged as hospitals look for better ways to enhance patient experience – one of the top criteria in evaluating hospital performance. Patient experience accounts for 25% of a hospital’s Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) score as per the US government’s Centres for Medicare and Mediaid Services (CMS) programme. As a Mckinsey report says, hospitals need to break down a patient’s journey into various aspects, clinical and non-clinical, and seek ways of improving every touch point in the journey. As hospitals also need to focus on delivering quality healthcare, they are increasingly collaborating with entrepreneurs who offer such patient centric solutions or encouraging innovative intrapreneurship within the organization.

At the Hospital Leadership Summit hosted by Abbott, some of the speakers from diverse industry backgrounds brought up the role of entrepreneurship in order to deliver on patient experience.

Getting the best from collaborations

Speakers such as Dr Naresh Trehan, Chairman and Managing Director - Medanta Hospitals, and Meena Ganesh, CEO and MD - Portea Medical, who spoke at the panel discussion on “Are we fit for the world of new consumers?”, highlighted the importance of collaborating with entrepreneurs to fill the gaps in the patient experience eco system. As Dr Trehan says, “As healthcare service providers we are too steeped in our own work. So even though we may realize there are gaps in customer experience delivery, we don’t want to get distracted from our core job, which is healthcare delivery. We would rather leave the job of filling those gaps to an outsider who can do it well.”

Meena Ganesh shares a similar view when she says that entrepreneurs offer an outsider’s fresh perspective on the existing gaps in healthcare. They are therefore better equipped to offer disruptive technology solutions that put the customer right at the center. Her own venture, Portea Medical, was born out of a need in the hitherto unaddressed area of patient experience – quality home care.

There are enough examples of hospitals that have gained significantly by partnering with or investing in such ventures. For example, the Children’s Medical Centre in Dallas actively invests in tech startups to offer better care to its patients. One such startup produces sensors smaller than a grain of sand, that can be embedded in pills to alert caregivers if a medication has been taken or not. Another app delivers care givers at customers’ door step for check-ups. Providence St Joseph’s Health, that has medical centres across the U.S., has invested in a range of startups that address different patient needs – from patient feedback and wearable monitoring devices to remote video interpretation and surgical blood loss monitoring. UNC Hospital in North Carolina uses a change management platform developed by a startup in order to improve patient experience at its Emergency and Dermatology departments. The platform essentially comes with a friendly and non-intrusive way to gather patient feedback.

When intrapreneurship can lead to patient centric innovation

Hospitals can also encourage a culture of intrapreneurship within the organization. According to Meena Ganesh, this would mean building a ‘listening organization’ because as she says, listening and being open to new ideas leads to innovation. Santosh Desai, MD& CEO - Future Brands Ltd, who was also part of the panel discussion, feels that most innovations are a result of looking at “large cultural shifts, outside the frame of narrow business”. So hospitals will need to encourage enterprising professionals in the organization to observe behavior trends as part of the ideation process. Also, as Dr Ram Narain, Executive Director, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, points out, they will need to tell the employees who have the potential to drive innovative initiatives, “Do not fail, but if you fail, we still back you.” Innovative companies such as Google actively follow this practice, allowing employees to pick projects they are passionate about and work on them to deliver fresh solutions.

Realizing the need to encourage new ideas among employees to enhance patient experience, many healthcare enterprises are instituting innovative strategies. Henry Ford System, for example, began a system of rewarding great employee ideas. One internal contest was around clinical applications for wearable technology. The incentive was particularly attractive – a cash prize of $ 10,000 to the winners. Not surprisingly, the employees came up with some very innovative ideas that included: a system to record mobility of acute care patients through wearable trackers, health reminder system for elderly patients and mobile game interface with activity trackers to encourage children towards exercising. The employees admitted later that the exercise was so interesting that they would have participated in it even without a cash prize incentive.

Another example is Penn Medicine in Philadelphia which launched an ‘innovation tournament’ across the organization as part of its efforts to improve patient care. Participants worked with professors from Wharton Business School to prepare for the ideas challenge. More than 1,750 ideas were submitted by 1,400 participants, out of which 10 were selected. The focus was on getting ideas around the front end and some of the submitted ideas included:

  • Check-out management: Exclusive waiting rooms with TV, Internet and other facilities for patients waiting to be discharged so as to reduce space congestion and make their waiting time more comfortable.
  • Space for emotional privacy: An exclusive and friendly space for individuals and families to mourn the loss of dear ones in private.
  • Online patient organizer: A web based app that helps first time patients prepare better for their appointment by providing check lists for documents, medicines, etc to be carried and giving information regarding the hospital navigation, the consulting doctor etc.
  • Help for non-English speakers: Iconography cards to help non-English speaking patients express themselves and seek help in case of emergencies or other situations.

As Arlen Meyers, MD, President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs, says in a report, although many good ideas come from the front line, physicians must also be encouraged to think innovatively about patient experience. An academic study also builds a strong case to encourage intrapreneurship among nurses. Given they comprise a large part of the front-line staff for healthcare delivery, nurses should also be given the freedom to create and design innovative systems for improving patient experience.

According to a Harvard Business Review article quoted in a university study, employees who have the potential to be intrapreneurs, show some marked characteristics. These include a sense of ownership, perseverance, emotional intelligence and the ability to look at the big picture along with the desire, and ideas, to improve it. But trust and support of the management is essential to bringing out and taking the ideas forward.

Creating an environment conducive to innovation is the first step to bringing about innovation-driven outcomes. These were just some of the insights on healthcare management gleaned from the Hospital Leadership Summit hosted by Abbott. In over 150 countries, Abbott, which is among the top 100 global innovator companies, is working with hospitals and healthcare professionals to improve the quality of health services.

To read more content on best practices for hospital leaders, visit Abbott’s Bringing Health to Life portal here.

This article was produced on behalf of Abbott by the Scroll.in marketing team and not by the Scroll.in editorial staff.