Healthcare and Jugaad go hand in hand in India
The Indian idea of ‘Jugaad’ which is otherwise called a creative improvisation is very much present in the society and plays a very critical role. The idea of ‘jugaad’ gels well with the poverty, varied geography and the poor infrastructure of the country. The people in India are extremely price sensitive and willing to experiment with frugal innovations in their day to day life which includes healthcare system.
While talking about ‘juggad in healthcare system’, one thing that strikes my mind is the scene from a superhit Bollywood movie ‘3 idiots’, where Aamir Khan facilitates the delivery of a baby using a vacuum cleaner and an inverter made from a car battery. However, it was a very exaggerated version of juggad in the movie, but in real life, there are many frugal innovations in healthcare, which actually works, and one of the best examples of it is the prosthetic limb popularly known as ‘Jaipur Foot’.
While Jaipur foot was one of the best examples of frugal innovation victory, there are many other such innovations which come in many shapes and forms. Here we have listed some successful frugal innovations in healthcare which are in use:
Polystyrene baby incubators
In Dahanu, a tribal area near Mumbai, India, there were many cases of low-birth-weight babies, and their chances of survival were extremely low because there was no adequate system to support the use of traditional infant incubators that require electricity and trained staff to operate them. But a grassroots level innovation brought a major change in the scenario. Polystyrene baby incubator is a box made up of polystyrene, better known as Thermocol. Four holes are made on two sides of the box to convert it into a baby incubator. This invention has helped in preventing hypothermia among babies in low-resource areas.
The embrace warmer
The product was launched in India in May 2009, and it was so successful that it is now sold in 62 countries. The embrace warmer is a low cost sleeping bag-like product designed to be durable and reusable. It requires only 30 minutes of electricity to warm up using a portable heater that comes with the product. This is very much useful for the women in villages, as they give birth at home and have little access to basic healthcare or electricity. This low-cost incubator is a boon for the premature babies born into poverty.
5 out of 100 babies does not receive enough oxygen before, during or just after birth, which leads to either death or disabilities. The babies can be saved by a procedure called basic resuscitation which requires a certain degree of skill and expertise. But this basic infrastructure is often found lacking in Indian hospitals, which leads to the death of an extremely high number of babies. NeoBreathe is an integrated neonatal resuscitation solution that is easier to use and suitable for field conditions.
Multiple attempts are often required while introducing a nasogastric tube in patients who have lost sensation in their throat Problem. Incorrect nasogastric tube insertion into the lungs can lead to fatal aspiration pneumonitis. Accufeed is a low-cost guiding device for accurate nasogastric tube insertion.
Two-tier telecardiology framework:
Telecardiology is envisaged as a supplement to inadequate local cardiac care, especially, in infrastructure deficient communities. The device has the capability of verifying sample signals as normal or abnormal. Using minimal power and bandwidth, the signals can be transmitted to the local sub-centre. The sub-centers then evaluates the data according to the algorithm. If there is any abnormality in the signal it will be sent to the diagnosis center.
Such innovations not only showcase India as a low-cost manufacturing destination but also as a premier location for high-end research, design and product development.