Most of the children in India are chronically malnourished. Children are deficient in some micronutrient or the other. A team of engineers designed a machine called Garbh that can asses the nutritional status of a child and also suggest the necessary solutions.
The device was designed by a team PROIEST, consisting of four members Ankesh Khare, Gauri Rakhade, Suchit Sapate and Atul Samundre, for the first phase of competition organized by IIT-Bombay.
"While carrying out our initial research, we came across the horrific reality of undernutrition among Indian children. We came to know that it is killing, on average, a thousand children daily in India and 40,000 all over the world. It would be a privilege for us to contribute in any way to improve the situation," said Ankesh Khare.
The cradle-shaped device can compute weight, height, body mass index and test the blood of the child to assess its nutritional status.
The device provides results for blood count, protein or vitamin deficiency, whether the child is malnourished or undernourished, the machine also provides possible solutions to the problems observed.
"While the concept sounds very good and useful in government and private hospitals, it won't be a very practical appliance to be used in the rural areas," opined senior pediatrician Dr Uday Bodhankar.
"Trial run for the machine should be arranged at a secondary or tertiary care center before it can be used at primary level. It could come in handy if it is portable. Rather than being electrical, it could be made battery-operated or better still a hybrid," said Dr Satish Gogulwar of Gadchiroli-based Amhi Amchya Arogyasathi. He added that getting real-time measures through such machines rather than depending on laboratories can help save time and resources.
Dr Abhay Bang from NGO Society For Education, Action and Research in Community Health (SEARCH) said that the device has the potential to be used at rural level but only by professionals like nurses, and not so appropriate for ASHA workers and mothers.