AYE – A Wearable device to reduce Vitamin A deficiencies in infants
AYE was created as a team project for The Wearables for Good Challenge (UNICEF, Arm, Frog).
“A global call-to-action to develop innovative, affordable solutions to make wearables and sensor technology a game-changer for women and children across the world. A challenge to design wearable and sensor technology that serves people in resource constrained environments. (source)”We started from the highlighted causes of The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and more specifically Goal 4: Reduce child mortality.
From there further research revealed a very critical area that is in dire need of innovation: “Vitamin A deficiency affects about 250 million preschool children in low-income countries that lead to the preventable blindness and other severe sicknesses. This unnecessary suffer can be stopped by the provision of high doses of vitamin A every 6 months until the age of 5 years (WHO, 2015).”
We decided to focus on creating a wearable that could address this issue.
The current process of vitamin delivery in low-income countries consists of a trained health-care workers providing vitamin A supplementation in steps to ensure health service standardization. The vitamin A is stored in a gelatin capsule that should be opened with a scissor and manually squeezed into the child’s mouth every 6 months.
We thought that there must be an easier way to deliver and most importantly re-deliver the vitamin A to the infants. We have also thought about a simple tool helping parents to initiate independent vitamin A supplementation to their babies without the guidance of the specialized personnel.
Aye is a one-unit pacifier that has a compartment where the gel capsule of the vitamin A can be inserted. The capsule will be naturally squeezed by the sucking movement allowing the content of the capsule slowly releasing into a child’s mouth. The pacifier AYE has also a potential to become a platform for the future unobtrusive delivery of any kind of required vitamin or medicine in a liquid oral form to the infants. Aye functions as a regular pacifier and additionally can deliver vitamin A orally in a soothing manner. It is an analog product but using the existing technology of a one-piece unit, this pacifier ensures that there are no cracks where dirt and bacteria can accumulate and is free of joints making it safe for the infants of an early age.
Published: Unicef / INDEX: Award (nomination)
How does it work within the use case?
Because of the production cost of the pacifier and further distribution, in the long term cost can be reduced by minimising the amount of trained health workers. As administering vitamin A is a simple act that still should be performed by skilled health workers or any level of community worker with nominal training, the pacifier allows to transfer this responsibility to infants’ parents.
Who benefits from it?
The primal beneficiaries are infants and parents, the second are the organisations involved with the vitamin A delivery and in the long-term the countries that will benefit from the healthy young population.
Why does it help?
It provides the platform for the multi-dose delivery of vitamin A directly from the parents. Aye empowers the carers to initiate independent vitamin A supplementation without the professional assistant.Therefore, by utilising the current medical knowledge of supplementation it targets the delivery aspect. It creates the bottom-up approach and educates the carers to take initiative and be in control of their infants’ health with little or no supervision from the authorities.
Aye meets the following UNICEF Innovation’s design principles:
1. Design for Scale (employ local materials and a design that can be manufactured and distributed in scale).
2. Reuse and Improve (using and improving the current pacifiers models and vitamin A delivery).
3. Build for Sustainability (could be re-used and recycled at the end of the product circle).
It is an analog device that does not need any hardware or software to operate.
1.The manufacturing process in order to ensure the cost-effective and scalable approach in using a single-piece design.
2. The initial distribution of the device and ensuring accompanying model of the Vitamin A capsule delivery.
3. Educating parents and ensuring their participation and initiative in re-delivering the vitamin A.