While medicine and health care advance in many parts of the world, there are still large populations with limited or no care at all. Infants are at greatest risk. An estimated 15 million children die each year from vaccination-preventable diseases. Often mothers in remote areas don’t understand or value vaccination programs and do not bring their children to sites where vaccines are administered. Compounding the problem, record keeping systems in many areas do not track individual children’s vaccine and health records adequately. This lack of information makes it difficult for health workers to know what vaccine supplies are needed where.
Khushi Baby, currently operating in northern India in about 100 vaccination camps serving approximately 1,000 children, is a co-winner of the UNICEF Wearables for Good challenge, co-sponsored by ARM and Frog. The other winner was SoaPen (which we covered previously). Khushi Baby combines a pendant worn by children around their necks with a system for data transfer and off-site storage. Information about vaccination and health records are transferred to the pendant by a health worker with a smartphone using near field communication (NFC) and then stored in the cloud. With aggregate record storage health care planners can determine what number of vaccines and other materials and medicines are needed in order that health care workers who travel to the sites will have the supplies they need. This system not only has the ability to track which children do and do not have specific vacccines, it also can track the effectiveness of vaccines administered.
After winning the UNICEF challenge, the Khushi Baby organization hopes to quadruple the number of Khushi Baby pendants distributed to further test and improve the system. Their greater goal is a system that can be used universally to improve individual record storage via wearable technology and data aggregation in cloud storage to improve childrens’ health and prevent unnecessary death. Individuals can fund bulk pendant purchases or smart phones used in the Khushi Baby program via their website: http://www.khushibaby.org/.