Around 1.5 million children die around the world every year from diseases that could be prevented through vaccination. India has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the world at under 60% – well below the World Health Organization’s 90% target. But in rural Rajasthan, a simple necklace – which contains a child’s vaccination records in a computer chip – is helping boost the numbers protected.
Khushi Baby – which means happy baby – is a plastic pendant on a black string. A computer chip embedded in the pendant stores vaccination data of the baby wearing it, along with the mother’s health records. By keeping the information on the child rather than on medical cards which can be lost or on paper logbooks that can become cumbersome and are almost impossible to search through, health workers can ensure babies get the right vaccinations at the right time.
The chip communicates with a smartphone or tablet, allowing health care workers in remote areas to access real-time data on the child’s vaccination schedule. When the health worker returns to the city, the data is uploaded to a central cloud allowing them to take the right supplies on their next field visits.
The Ministry of Health and other health officials can also access the data. Eight-month-old Guddia Damur has had all the required immunisations for her age. Guddia is a term of affection for newborns but with births rarely being registered in parts of India, it is a common name. The sheer number of children called Guddia creates confusion under the paper-based system. But thanks to Khushi Baby, Guddia’s mother Babli says health workers are always able to access her data on the spot. The necklace also reminds Babli of when her next injections are due. (BBC News, 2016)