The ‘digital necklace’ saving lives in India

Gary Finnegan

Gary Finnegan

January 14th, 2019

Gary Finnegan

‘500,000 children under the age of five die from vaccine-preventable diseases in India every year. For medical student Ruchit Nagar, this was a problem he needed to solve. ’

Ruchit, a medical student and entrepreneur, said the problem was frustrating: “We have vaccines so the question was why are kids not being vaccinated?”

He identified two barriers: low levels of vaccine awareness in rural India, as well as practical challenges with healthcare delivery. “How do we make mothers and fathers in rural communities aware of vaccination and how do we help health workers to know which children have been vaccinated and which ones have not,” he told Vaccines Today.

Ruchit co-founded Khushi Baby, a ‘digital health’ start-up with an idea and a Kickstarter page.

Their small team developed a ‘digital necklace’ which stories medical history, including vaccination records. When health workers visit a village, they can easily scan, read and update the patient record using their smartphone.

The necklace is on a black thread which is culturally powerful as it is widely viewed as a symbol of protection. It has been very popular with parents and is less likely to be forgotten or lost compared to a paper health record.

It wasn’t long before Khushi Baby had notched up a host of awards and raised enough money to develop their product which is now being piloted in India.

Could it make a real impact on child mortality in India? Watch this space.