Peter Beegle / Virginia Tech
Notable for its seamless integration with 21st century life in many developing nations. This combination of ubiquitous things; the popular necklace, the mobile phone and existing infrastructure is especially smart.
A smart phone based system designed to increase the rate of vaccination in developing countries. It is extremely user friendly and customizable system to help bring the vaccination rate up in developing countries from 50% where it stands at present. The system depends on two parts, an analogue part that works with the children and their families. The digital part that facilities the health care worker in doing collecting and managing the data in an efficient manner. This application interacts with objects used/worn by children living in rural areas/ slums and it also eliminates paper-based record keeping of vaccination records.2. The Brief: Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the context for the project, and what was the challenge posed to you? Who is the at-risk population, and what behavior do you seek to change in this population?
Immune is a system that was designed based on the existing infrastructure that would make it simple for the health care worker to collect, manage and report the data on vaccination while he/she is in the field administering vaccination shots to children. Our goal was to make it easy for the children/families in India, specifically, to provide the information needed by the health care worker and create an interface that would work across the literacy barrier. Currently, 3 million children, largely from developing countries, die each year because of vaccine preventable diseases and recent reports suggest that nearly 34 million children do not have current vaccinations. 98% of these children are living in developing countries. The percent of child in India who are vaccinated are staggering: 44% in urban areas; 22% in rural areas; and 2% in tribal areas. Our system is scalable, customizable and is easy to explain to increase the chances of acceptance by the end user, in this case, children their families and health care worker as well. We aimed to make a system fail safe to ensure that the right person is getting the correct shots while making the system less expensive than the current one, easier to use both by the health care worker as well as the families and provide an effective method for retrieving the data for analysis of vaccination programs. A system that would reward the parents for keeping the vaccination up to date.3. The Intent: What point of view did you bring to the project, and were there additional criteria that you added to the brief?
My professor being from rural India, and classmates traveling to India with him, brought an insightful amount of respect and cultural knowledge that made this project fun and enjoyable.4. The Process: Describe the rigor that informed your project. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) What stakeholder interests did you consider? (Audience, business, organization, labor, manufacturing, distribution, etc., as applicable)
Beginning as class exercise, the “immune” project began with multiple ideas. As explained, our intent was to create an object the was readable by a smart phone to help with vaccination records. Research began with finding out what kinds of objects poor, Indian child will most likely have with them at all times. We considered making the object a stationery object that stayed in the house, but we soon realized that we did not want to force an object into these peoples’ lives. We decided that because a QR code is so easily printable and small, that it can be placed anywhere the patient wishes. Almost all Indian children wear a necklace called a “taweez” which is a ornament on a string. The opportunity place a QR code on this object was an ideal situation because it will always be on the child in case he/she needs to be vaccinated.
The technology being used by the smart phone is an Android software that creates profiles of each child. The child profile will have a photograph in the system to act as a fail safe. There will be a QR code reading program in the application that will be able to scan an already existing QR code and identify the child and bring up his/her vaccination record or the program can create a new profile based on a new QR code.
We created working prototypes as well as an application that runs on an
android phone. The proposal was presented to the Ministry of Women and Child Development in
Rajasthan, India in December 2011. It is currently being considered for a pilot run in a rural district in the state. The application is free and available under “Creative Commons” at www.id4learning.com. Also, BMVSS (www.Jaipur foot.org), an organization that provides free
prosthetics for the impoverished in India has requested a modified version of the system, which is currently under development. The same system will be designed to help create records for the services they provide.
The “immune” project has astonishing potential for the world. It will prove to be extremely valuable due to its nearly effortless use and ease. With the potential to save almost 3 million children’s lives each year, its has an very strong global value.6. How can you be sure that the values you are advancing are desired by the community you are working with?
We chose a culturally adorn ornament style necklace because we knew that it is already extremely popular. If the family or child simply does not want to wear this object, than they can stick the QR code on a toy, in the father’s wallet, on a ID card, or a safe place in the home. By using a QR code, the child’s information can literally be placed anywhere the child/family desires.7. How will your project remain economically and operationally sustainable in the long term?
“immune” will remain economical and operational because it was designed to be used in some of the poorest areas in the world. With the use of printable QR codes, it will cost little to nothing for the health care worker to provide children with multiple codes. Also, we purchased the cheapest Android based smart phone that we could find and that is found in India and made sure that the application runs on it with no problems. This application is free and we hope that if there are any needs for updates, that we could simply update it and keep all the children’s vaccination records in the database.