Delivering Infant Vaccinations with NFC-Enabled Necklaces
Current data collection methods at the last mile are outdated, cumbersome, and lack patient specificity. Health officials are missing real-time, actionable maternal and child health data, preventing community-level monitoring of which babies are missing their vaccines and which mothers are at risk of birth complications. Many mothers don't understand the importance of antenatal care visits and vaccines, or how many are needed before and after birth. Without reliable health records, clinical decision making on the part of community health workers is erroneous and inefficient at the point of care where connectivity is rarely available.
Indian Institute of Health Management Research Physical Computing Around 1.5 million children die every year from diseases that could be prevented through vaccination. India has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the world at under 60% – well below the World Health Organization’s 90% target. Part of the problem is keeping track of which children have been immunised and when. In a remote part of India called Rajasthan, a large number of baby girls are called ‘Guddia’, and vaccinations are kept on paper – this leads to frequent loss of records and confusion. Yale students Ruchit Nagar and Leen van Besien teamed up with a local NGO Seva Mandir to deliver a better way to record immunizations. Noticing that many babies are given a black thread pendant to protect them from the evil eye, they created a similar necklace with added NFC (near-field communication) technology, which stored immunization data for the baby and contact details for the mother. A health worker with a smartphone or tablet can simply scan the necklace to access and update patient information, and the necklaces – co-designed with local mothers – are less likely to get lost than paper documentation. Each mother also receives a text message when her child’s immunizations are due. Around 1,500 babies are already in the system, and initial data is showing improved vaccination rates, even for the many baby girls with the same name. Currently, Khushi Baby – which means ‘happy baby’ – has completed a trial in over 70 villages and is set to grow their reach to over 300 villages next year, hoping to track 33,000 mothers and their infants. To help Khushi Baby expand their services, you can donate the equivalent of a tablet or 25 necklaces via www.khushibaby.org.
Sierra Briscoe - https://www.linkedin.com/in/sierrabriscoe/