By Ruchit Nagar, Co-founder and CEO at Khushi Baby

Each year, 1.5 million children die from vaccine-preventable diseases and a third of these children live in India.

What causes this alarming number?

Take a moment today to press play and learn, why.

 

Taking action

We at Khushi Baby want to play a part in addressing this issue – to track health to the last mile for each child and pregnant mother. Our approach has been to construct a system, inspired by the communities we hope to serve, to both motivate and monitor health care delivery. Better systems for engagement and better data can help us address the hundreds of thousands of vaccine preventable deaths of children that occur annually.  Ultimately, we’ve come up with a decentralized, culturally-symbolic, wearable, and digital medical passport, powered by Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, for each mother and child – a necklace that would save vaccine history, digitally.

With this tool, we can redefine the interface of health at the last mile to make sure no one slips through the cracks or fails to get the care they require due to a gap in their health history.

How it works?

It takes a few simple steps. First, the patient gets a necklace, that has an NFC chip that can store the medical records.  Then, the health worker can read and update the medical history with a simple tap and see what the patient is due for at the point of care – no connectivity is required. This data syncs to the cloud so health admins can see actionable reports from their dashboard. The dashboard also supports an automated voice call reminder system in the local dialect to connect back to the community to ensure they come in for follow-up care.

Overview of Khushi Baby 1.0 frontend and backend developed by John Swensen and Praneeth Sadda respectively. Schematic prepared by Anjali Chandrashekar, 2015.
Overview of Khushi Baby 1.0 frontend and backend developed by John Swensen and Praneeth Sadda respectively. Schematic prepared by Anjali Chandrashekar, 2015.

The Journey

Khushi Baby was born out of a design class at Yale University. This past November, we applied to the UNICEF Wearables for Good Challenge. In preparation, we were introduced to coaches from ARM, UNICEF, and Dalberg to refine our pitch, and out of 250 applications around the world, we were awarded as one of the two winners. It didn’t stop there – we worked closely with UNICEF’s Office of Innovation who helped us in assembling various partners, opening doors, and infusing energy into all that we do.

UNICEF Innovation, Frog, and ARM take the stage of SLUSH to announce Wearables for Good Challenge Winners in Helsinki. 2015. Photo Courtesy of UNICEF Kenya.
UNICEF Innovation, Frog, and ARM take the stage of SLUSH to announce Wearables for Good Challenge Winners in Helsinki. 2015. Photo Courtesy of UNICEF Kenya.

UNICEF’s Office of Innovation’s partners like Frog Design helped us think about our framework and the design of the necklace. They’ve also encouraged us to talk to our end users to garner quick qualitative insights.

Since April of this year, Architects at Andela have also been helping us animate these ideas through code. As we went back to the drawing board to redesign the app from scratch to ensure it is open source – an important driver when designing for scale.

Coding in progress in Lagos, 2016. Photo Courtesy of Daniel James.
Coding in progress in Lagos, 2016. Photo Courtesy of Daniel James.

Partners at PCH International have helped us think about how to procure the hardware and software we are building to the volume that we can manufacture and at what price point would we be able to obtain our necklaces at scale.

These digital records will be strung on black thread and distributed to families attending antenatal care and immunization camps.
These digital records will be strung on black thread and distributed to families attending antenatal care and immunization camps.

FactoryX helped us think how to test our integrated product to market. By taking their simple frameworks, we were able to understand who our potential customers were, and how we can sell the product to them.

We’ve been deeply grateful for the support of the counselors at Cooley who have taken care of our legal proceedings and have helped us in filing patents for our system. Especially because of our complex company structure – we are a US non-profit, working in India, opening a potential hybrid entity in India – as well as the numerous contracts we have with partners across four different continents.

The support we’ve received is overwhelming – we could go on to tell you about the counseling we have received from ARM, Orange, Philips Innovation, and Benetech and how we’ve been able to collaborate with 3ie, GAVI, Safran, Mobisoft, and district governments in India and Nigeria, with the prospect of scale-up in multiple countries as a 2016 GAVI Pacesetter Innovation.

After hundreds of skype calls, a week in San Francisco, and the enormous support we have received from the Wearables for Good Community, we are very fortunate to be standing where we are. We recognize and appreciate that the signature of our effort will continue to be fueled by an interdisciplinary and global collaboration

But – our journey has just begun.

We still need to raise capital in order to complete our first government sales, build our team, create contracts with the central Ministries of Health, deploy our next app, measure our impact rigorously, scale up and achieve sustainability.

It’s a lot – but we’ll get there.

As for today, we hope you can help us in our journey.

Get involved. Click here to join our campaign for maternal and child health.

Contact us: engage@khushibaby.org

Print This Story