The final phase of the Spring 2014 Global Design for UNICEF Challenge is currently wrapping up for participants from City University of New York (CUNY), Lebanese American University (LAU), and American University of Beirut (AUB).

After a four-month design and iteration process, the original 90 teams have been winnowed to just 10; 5 here in New York, and 5 in Lebanon. Now, two winners globally will be selected at live pitch competitions in their respective countries.

The CUNY winner was selected this past Thursday, June 5 at an event at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where the top teams each had 5 minutes to pitch their idea to a panel of expert judges, followed by Q&A.

We are pleased to announce that the winning team from CUNY is Every Child’s Milestone, who aim to improve birth registration rates in Tanzania by integrating a pre-registration process into existing antenatal services.

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Every Child’s Milestone responds to questions from the judging panel

Even though birth registration rates in Tanzania are less than 10%, over 96% of pregnant women receive antenatal services. The students propose to leverage this access point along with the success and reach of existing mHealth (mobile health) initiatives coming out of UNICEF Country Offices, such as Project Mwana and the RemindMi application. Caregivers could pre-fill sections of an electronic birth certificate during the mother’s first antenatal care visit, which would feed directly into the birth registration database of Tanzania’s Registration, Insolvency, and Trusteeship Agency (RITA). Certificates could then be completed and issued after a birth is reported (via RapidSMS) and confirmed.

This team was selected for their systems-based approach and the added-value of their idea, as well as its feasibility. Their project successfully assesses root causes and existing efforts, and finds a simple leverage point that will yield scalable impact.

An honorable mention was given to team SD’17 Healthy Minds, who have re-designed key elements of the Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) Timer, used for pneumonia diagnosis, to increase usability and efficacy. Their application of creative problem solving to a specific but pressing need closely follows the user-centered design methods taught throughout the Challenge.

The current ARI Timer (left) and the re-design proposed by SD'17
The current ARI Timer (left) and the re-design proposed by SD’17

Elements of the current ARI Timer, such as beeping and ticking sounds meant to track breaths, are often more of a distraction for Community Health Workers, and create a stressful environment for infants, both of which can lead to misdiagnosis. The students’ proposed re-design addresses these concerns through features such as an analog display, vibrations, and improved power source.

Stay tuned for the outcome of the second pitch competition at LAU, which will be held at the end of June!

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