Monitoring Low Birth Weight Babies in Rural India

About Asha

Introduction to the problem:
About 7.8 million babies with low birth weight (under 2.5 kg) are born in India each year, with a 20 % mortality rate. This is mainly due to lack of awareness and lack of accessibility to the local hospital, to receive proper care on time. These vulnerable babies need to be monitored closely to ensure their development, and this has to be done locally at home.
ASHAs (Accredited Social Health Activists) are the bridge between the rural community and the local hospital. These are women who belong to the local community, have been appointed by the Health Ministry of India, and are trained to identify general sicknesses and refer people with symptoms to  the nearest hospital. Some ASHAs also act as midwives and advise young mothers for routine checkups. But the ASHAs’ credibility is affected by their lack of literacy and their not having the right tools to perform certain tasks.

Basic vital statistics of low birth weight babies, such as weight, height, and temperature, need to be monitored closely and accurately each week for the first 10 weeks after birth. The parents often fail or delay to bring their child for checkups, due to unawareness, poverty, and poor accessibility to the nearest hospital. A grass root level approach is needed. The babies need to be monitored locally at their homes by the ASHAs, and advice needs to be given to the mothers. The ASHAs need a tool to monitor babies easily, accurately, and in a hygienic manner.

ASHA is a simple rugged portable device that measures the baby’s weight and temperature. It has an built-in digital weighing scale powered by solar cells and a non-touch infrared thermometer, to avoid cross contamination. The baby’s growth progress can be closely documented in the personal baby blanket. This ensures timely, local care for the babies and builds credibility for the ASHAs.


Peter Alwin

Since 2016 Industrial Designer at Semcon AB, Stockholm, Sweden
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2005 - 2010 Bachelors in ‘Industrial Design’ from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India.
2011 - 2012 Industrial Designer at Electrolux, Stockholm, Sweden
2013 - 2016 Masters in Advanced Product Design. Umeå Institute of Design, Umeå, Sweden
2015 Industrial design student internships, 4 month each:
Microsoft Xbox in Redmond, Washington, USA.
BMW Designworks USA, Munich, Germany.
Samsung Research America, Mountianview California, USA
2016 - Current Industrial Designer at Semcon AB, Stockholm, Sweden

device = mobile