Monday, August 31, 2009

A project on Water

I wanted to do a project on Women and Water and so I spent this summer trying to figure out what would be the best thing to do. When I first googled the topic, I was swamped with information. But not all this information was relevant. And there were many things that I needed to know that I could not find (or took very long to find). One thing I realized was that a lot of research has been done on safe clean drinking water. There are a lot of products and systems out there tackling the issue, but there is no one place to get all this information. And thus I took it upon myself to create a portal where one could find a way to implement projects related to water, sanitation, and hygiene specific to a certain geographic area. Below, is my final presentation for the same.

Water Presentation

After visiting the different villages in Africa over the summer, and now Chhattisgarh over the last few days, I found that most villages had access to a borewell and clean drinking water. But this water got contaminated in its journey from this source to the individual household. The jerrycans or pots that were used to fill water were pretty dirty, the women and children collecting the water did not wash their hands, and the same hand went into the pot while carrying the water, transporting this heavy load from Point A to B was a nightmare. And these were just stored out in the open with nothing to cover and protect this valuable source from insects and other contaminants. I see an opportunity for a well designed storage-cum-transportation device. And while many people have tried to address this issue (Q-drum, hippo roller, etc.) I did not really see anyone is the villages using these products. For some reason, they seem to unfamiliar in the current landscape of things. I believe here lies a great design opportunity.


A project I did this summer before leaving for Ghana, momi stands for MIDWIFERY AND OBSTETRICS FOR MOTHERS AND INFANTS.

Rural areas lacks access to public healthcare and the distribution channels for medicines and services is limited, leading to increased mortality and many diseases going untreated. The decision to acquire treatment is based on the cost to travel to the clinic or hospital: if it results in more money spent in transportation or wages lost due to the time taken to reach the facility, people will defer treatment until the condition is relatively serious. This ineffective system results in self-medication techniques, making pharmacies or other sources of medicines the most important part of the healthcare system. This shows a huge need not only for the distribution of medicines to remote areas, but also a requirement for health education so that rural households know the best way to treat their symptoms.

When it comes to women, more than 50% of the death rate is dur to childbirth. At the same time, the biggest cause of high Infant Mortality Rates in the developing world is due to lack of neonatal care. The goal of this project is to ensure that midwife's in rural India have the education and the
infrastructure required for childbirth. India's Infant Mortality Rate is one of the highest in the world, and the IMR in rural areas is much greater than urban areas. This project wants to address the challenges of childbirth and maternal health education in rural India.

The solution is a system where traditional midwives are trained for a month at nearby Primary Health Centers on how to use basic instruments during childbirth. At the end of this training module, they are given a child delivery bag that contains a stethoscope, sphygmomanometer, surgical handle + blades, surgical gloves, cotton yarn, and ivory soap.

Along with these, they are given two subkits - one for the mother and one for the infant. The mother's kit consists of a towel for her to lay down on, a muslin sheet to cover her at the time of delivery, and a washcloth to keep her clean. The infant's kit contains a cotton shirt and a cap for the newborn to wear, and a receiving blanket to wrap him/her in.

Below are some pictures of the Mother's kit and Infant's kit.

This was my first time working with packaging and branding and some of the graphics turned out to be too (sexy???) But after visiting the Primary Health Center in a village (Kenochi) in Chhattisgarh and speaking to a midwife in a nearby village (Amadov), I am ready to go back and redesign some of the graphic elements, as well as build the system further based on their input!