Creating a Low-Cost, Cell Phone-Based System for Increased Uptake and Coverage of Childhood Vaccinations in Rural India
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The following paper details my experience as a research assistant to Dr. Aditya Johri at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) in Blacksburg, Virginia during the summer of 2011. During the eight weeks I spent at Virginia Tech, I worked with a small group of students and professors from both the Industrial Design and Engineering departments to design a cell-phone based system for increased uptake and coverage of childhood vaccinations in poor rural regions in India. Because communicable diseases still prove to be a leading cause of child mortality in India, we believe that a cell-phone based approach to recording vaccinations delivered by healthcare workers will help to improve the number of children a healthcare worker is able to reach and accurately administer immunizations to. Our final system incorporates the taweez, a culturally significant ornament in India, and a smart phone capable of scanning Quick Response (QR) codes stored inside the taweez, which will serve to identify children. My principle role during our design process was to provide input from a technical point of view considering various design constraints and cultural factors. My experience working on this project at Virginia Tech provided me with a much greater understanding of the steps necessary to produce a successful digital product for use in developing countries.