Q and A with the CEO of HealthTech Startup Khushi Baby
We got to speak with Ruchit Nagar, co-founder and CEO of Khushi Baby, a HealthTech startup born out of a design class at Yale. Below are some of our favorite snippets from the chat, enjoy!
What is Khushi Baby?
Khushi Baby is a necklace, an app, and a dashboard that “[tries] to bridge the maternal health gap at the last mile” by giving health care workers and patients a new way to record and update their medical history. Babies are given a pendant containing an NFC (Near Field Communication) chip, which they wear around their neck.
This chip stores a digital copy of the mother and child’s medical record. The health worker can read the patient’s medical history on that chip just by bringing their smartphone near the pendant. Once the health worker returns to their office, they can sync data to a dashboard. This way, the health worker can use the mobile app in rural villages without wifi, also eliminating the need for a traditional register.
What is the hardest part of convincing rural communities to adopt new technology?
The mother and child get a necklace which contains the NFC chip. “Children are already wearing these necklaces, customary to protect them from nazar or ‘the evil eye’”, says founder Ruchit Nagar, “so we’re slotting into something that’s culturally relevant, and culturally positive if you will.
It’s something that can build trust at the point of care, where otherwise the child is just stabbed with a needle and you don’t see the immediate benefit.” Khushi Baby has used this as an educational tool and a way to bridge trust since it’s “something that the mothers are directly able to relate to; they haven’t refused the necklace and have reviewed it as highly favourable.”
What are the challenges that developing countries like India face in catching up in the field of health tech?
Countries like India have a lot of bureaucracy and red tape which makes it difficult to finance certain things. Even if the government has tons of money allocated to NGOs, the process of releasing funds for their use is long and tedious. However, Mr. Nagar is optimistic. “Working in India is both a boon and a curse,” he says. “People are excited for innovation. There are many initiatives going on that are supporting the work that we’ve been trying to do. All these initiatives are very positive for the country and feel very relevant as the government is eager to try something that works.”
What are the next steps for Khushi Baby?
Khushi Baby has been working with Unicef Innovation, to build the next version of their app which “will essentially be a replacement of the national reproductive childhood health register”. Their goal is for every nurse in India who is meeting a pregnant woman or infant to have a tablet with the Khushi Baby app installed on it. The government is assisting them in the purchase of tablets, the most expensive part of the process. Their aim is to build software that is scalable in the long run.
What advice would you give to people participating in this hackathon so that they can make the maximum impact in the two days they have, and beyond?
“When we were doing the class project that gave birth to Khushi Baby, none of us were technical. So I would encourage you to go to a hackathon especially if you’re a non-technical person because you can still be innovative and creative and think on your feet. For example, I learnt Java programming only uptil high school, yet I’m very involved in the Android project management daily. So don’t underestimate yourself and why your skills may be useful. For the more tech oriented people, it sort of depends on the team you get and the idea you end up going with. If you’re going to be at the hackathon really do commit, don’t go halfway. Ask yourself when selecting your project what exactly you want to work on? Is this something I can see myself working on outside the hackathon for another three months, six months, a year? Is this something that I actually want to pursue? Add some sort of personal motivation so that’s it’s not some sort of side project but something that you actually care about that will be used. The process may be tedious and annoying and difficult, but at the end of the day, your signature will be on this product that will hopefully make some sort of impact. So I think that can be incredibly powerful and motivating.”
For more info on this impactful startup, check out their website or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to get involved.
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