I was recently at the GE Jugaadathon event organised by CAMTECH and GE at the silicon valley of India, i.e. Bangalore. The theme was “Maternal and Child Health” and I was leading the event on Twitter with GE’s twitter handle and at the event site where some of the best minds collaborated over 48 hours to build some of the most disruptive solutions for the cause. This hackathon got further support from USAID, OMIDYAR network and BACCA foundation.
I sit on the Advisory Board for WHO’s PMNCH forum; ICT Readiness group and work across the globe facilitating institutional deliveries, solving problems of malnutrition and low birth babies and so much more. When I got felicitated by the President of India last year for my report on “Innovations in Healthcare”- it was half the journey. I somehow completed that with my involvement here in the hackathon this time. Such an experience!
Inside General Electric’s technology centre in Bangalore, where the multinational giant develops solutions that power its multi-billion dollar business across the world, dozens of innovators have gathered to make ‘Jugaad’ happen. I spoke with Mr. Milan Rao, President & CEO, GE India and South Asia about the culture of innovation and he vehemently mentioned about How GE believes in “Open Innovation” and facilitates Co-creation- where you share both risk and rewards. The Jugaad-a-thon is a new way of elevating the experience and know-how of local experts and using strategies from not just engineering, but also public health and business, to develop new tools to improve health.
Mr Rao was happy that this time around that they have double the number of registrations for participating in this event than the last time- so a Jugaadathon 2.0 in the real sense of that word.
The winning teams- Innovation snapshot
Storyline 1: Radha’s baby was gasping for breath. 2 am in the morning all she could do is bicycle around 5 kms to a local dispensary to realise that there is no doctor available. She called the state ambulance but that will take 1 hour. She went to the bus station to take a bus to the nearby Primary Healthcare centre. There was no pint for the ambulance anyways and she recalls her day of pregnancy when some complications led her to call for an ambulance. Driving an hour away in a small van with a stretcher, an empty oxygen tank, worn-out shock absorbers that magnified each bump — and no medic.
Low birth weight and pneumonia have emerged as two of the biggest killers of infants and children in the state, accounting for 50% of their mortality rate. The figures have posed a serious question over the numerous state-funded health schemes for children.
Has there been a way that could help administer oxygen in a styropor box while transporting babies with respiratory distress and decided adequacy of oxygenation on clinical grounds- that would have been great.
Radha will be one of those may that will benefit from this innovation called “O2Matic”. After the initial design, the team is now working on a portable kit style prototype that is intuitive in design and can even be used by an unskilled person to generate oxygen using a modular apparatus.
A study for Malawi in Africa suggested that Hypoxaemia in children with severe or very severe Pneumonia is a reliable predictor of mortality, increasing the risk of dying fivefold. During the situation analysis it was found that oxygen was not always available in four out of five district hospital paediatric wards visited. Health workers did not know when or how to administer oxygen to children. Oxygen cylinders were only provided to central hospitals and district hospital operating rooms, as they are expensive and difficult to deliver due to poor roads.
Storyline 2: I was very impressed when I got to see 17 year old Neeti Kailas work in 2014 on detecting hearing loss. Kailas’s device works by measuring the response of the brainstem to sounds. A simple, adjustable headband containing three electrodes is placed on the baby’s head to detect electrical responses generated by the brain’s auditory system when stimulated. If the brain does not respond, the child cannot hear. The device is non-invasive, which means babies do not need to be sedated during screening.
AWAAZ at Jugaadathon did something impressive. The embedded sensors in a blanket and cap with an eye piece are motion sensitive and can closely assess the baby’s eye and body movements within two seconds of a clap or any other sound stimulus. This gets updated in an mobile app. The app then runs an algorithm to analyse the babies’ responses to provide a red or green response (Deaf/No Deaf) to the health worker. If the baby passes the test the health worker follows up at 3.5 months, 6, 9 and 12 months. If the baby fails this test the health worker refers the child to the closest center that performs a gold standard screening test called OAE. (Oto-Acoustic Emissions).
The importance for screening for deafness can clearly be understood from the fact that if hearing aid can be provided in the prelingual phase it can minimize the negative impact of sensorineural hearing loss on speech and language acquisition. Also, the impact of hearing loss due to cytomegalovirus in infants could be minimised with early testing and antiviral treatment.
Storyline 3: A baby born into a family brings so much joy and such was the case with Hariharan as well who lived in a rural area in Uttar Pradesh and was happy to announce his fatherhood. But this happiness was short lived. Manthan lost one eye to Amblyopia when he was 4 year old.
One out of every three blind people in the world lives in India – an estimated 15 million blind people live in India. No just blindness but also diseases like ROP, Amblyopia, strabismus and others are prevalent in India. Childhood blindness is one of the priorities in Vision 2020: the right to sight. It is estimated that there are 1.4 million blind children in the world, two thirds of whom live in the developing countries, and that the causes of blindness in children vary according to region and socioeconomic development.
Team “PEEK-A-BOO” created a fun gaming app that can help diagnose such problems. This is an interactive gaming application designed to identify vision impairment in children. The game will help assess developmental problems that often go undetected in children. The child performs fun tasks, and his/ her performance is assessed in the background. A report will be mailed to the parents in case the app finds an anomaly.
In 2014, the top three Jugaad innovations were awarded monetary prizes along with the chance to see their idea carried further by CAMTech and GE Healthcare India. First prize, Rs. 250,000, went to a mobile application called BabySteps, which aids early diagnosis of developmental delays in children. In second place, with a Rs. 150,000 reward came PEC-Dia, a measurement system developed to diagnose a condition called Cephalo Pelvic Disproportion (CPD, which occurs when the baby’s head is too large to pass through the mother’s pelvis). In third place, with Rs. 75,000, was the Pregmatic, a wearable device that reminds pregnant women about important developmental milestones to be aware of throughout their pregnancy, at which they may need critical care.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself at the event. Looking forward to Jugaadathon 2016- RELOADED. For more snippets about the event visit here>>