Vaccine-on-wheels project covering three cities gets Gates Foundation grant

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Jignesh Patel, a former business executive and currently Fellow of Center for Healthcare Entrepreneurship(CfHE) at the Indian Institute of Technology-Hyderabad (IITH) has won funding from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to implement an innovative vaccination service on wheels in three cities in India. His concept is expected to improve vaccination coverage among children of low-income families.

The project envisages providing mobile vaccine service, including a smart phone-based management application that provides customised vaccinations at homes and schools at a lower cost, to ensure children in all sections of the society receive the medication.

Patel, who joined CfHE in 2018, is a winner of 'Grand Challenges Exploration (GCE)' Grant and will take up his project titled '' under the firm Jivika Healthcare Private Limited in Gurgaon, Allahabad and Surat as a pilot project using the funding. 

The idea behind this service is unconventional and creative due to factors such as zero waiting time, flexibility to caregivers, reduced cost of availing service, zero chance of missed vaccination opportunity, transparency, focus on infants and caregivers as primary stake holders, certificate of vaccination to educate caregivers on purpose of respective vaccination and as an act of motivation, according to IITH.

"The biodesign process thinking has helped in identifying the gaps in vaccination coverage in urban districts. Mr Jignesh Patel has come up with a sustainable business model to fill these gaps while organically participating with the National Programmes on vaccination with a beneficiary-certificate approach in vaccination. He plans to develop social mobilisation as an easy adaptation of this model through digital campaigns. Once enrolled, this model will close the chance of missing out vaccinations to zero percentage," Renu John, co-head, CfHE and head, Department of Biomedical Engineering at IITH said.

The GCE is a $100 million initiative funded by Gates  Foundation that aims to support innovative thinkers worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mould in how we solve persistent global health and development challenges, according to the release.

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