ToucHb is a hand-held needle-free battery operated device that enables screening for anaemia and simplifies monitoring of treatment on a regular basis.
It democratizes healthcare by empowering health workers with appropriate technology and enables them with actionable data. Screening for anemia and monitoring treatment are vital for the health of both the mother and the child, and with ToucHb, it is now possible to do this effectively, even in low resource settings.
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In typical low resource settings, existing solutions are ineffective for more than one reason.
Scenario 1: Patient goes to the PHC
Pregnant women are recommended to get a hemoglobin test at least once in every trimester of their pregnancy. It is inconvenient for a pregnant women to walk to the nearest primary healthcare center that could more than 5 km at times. They do not feel sick enough to justify that trip that could even come against losing a days wage, in case of daily wage workers. As a result a large number of women skip the screening and monitoring.
Scenario 2: Healthworker goes to the doorsteps of identified women
A health worker is usually a member of the community she/he serves and is aware of the pregnant women in his/her area. In most cases the health-worker does not have the tools for surveillance. Even if the tools are available, the population is less compliant with the idea of withdrawing blood. Clinical sign examination fails to determine the severity of anaemia, so a situation that calls for blood transfusion is dealt with providing only nutritional supplements.Minimal invasive devices prove out to be expensive with high recurrent costs for lancets and micro-cuvettes. Eventually, for a severly anaemic female, complications arise during pregnancy and also leads to a low birth weight baby.
Our Solution, ToucHb is a portable, non-invasive,
hemoglobin estimation device that gives instant readings.
It has a potential to be more effective because of its noninvasive nature, which means it does not require a finger prick. It does not require any special skill to operate, so the doorstep health worker gets an objective result to take an important therapeutic decision. There are no recurrent costs (needles, use of special lancets, micro-cuvettes, blotting paper etc.) other than the batteries that can be recharged and expected to last for more than 100 tests and the probe, which requires yearly maintenance. The cost per test is low, there is no bio-waste.
ToucHb will enable the doorstep health worker to keep a track of the local health and allow him/her to place request to the primary health center / village clinic for an appropriate supply of nutritional supplements. More than a diagnostic tool, it will be a system to monitor anaemia at the grass root level and help in reallocation of invaluable resources to where its needed most. We perceive that ToucHb can prove to be a pertinent diagnostic solution in anaemia screening and monitoring. We envision that a device in the hands of every doorstep health worker, who is also the health representative of his/her community, will empower the community and give them an equal opportunity to raise their quality of life.
Check out more pics about ToucHb and the development journey behind its creation, on Facebook.
The futureToucHb is a platform technology. We are very excited about the possibilities ahead. On the 'data' side, there is the possibility to integrate with mobile device using platforms such as Android. On the 'device' side, it is possible to make the hardware smaller and faster. On the 'research' side, it is possible to extend similar principles of operation to diagnose other conditions, investigate other blood anylates.