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IIT Hyderabad Receives Grand Challenges Explorations Grant For Groundbreaking Research In Global Health And Development

To receive funding, Jignesh Patel and other Grand Challenges Explorations winners demonstrated in a two-page online application a bold idea in one of seven critical global health and development topic areas.

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Foundation for Center for Healthcare Entrepreneurship (CfHE) – Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad announced today that it is a winner of a Grand Challenges Explorations grant – an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Jignesh Patel, CfHE Fellow will pursue an innovative global health and development research project, titled Vaccination On Wheels (VOW).

Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) supports innovative thinkers worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mould in how we solve persistent global health and development challenges. Jignesh Patel’s project is one of approximately 50 Grand Challenges Explorations Round 22 grants announced by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Speaking about this project, Dr Renu John, Co-Head, CfHE and Head, Department of Biomedical Engineering, IIT Hyderabad, said, “The Biodesign Process thinking has helped in identifying the gaps in vaccination coverage in urban districts in India. Mr Jignesh Patel has come up with a sustainable Business Model to fill these gaps while organically participating with the National Programs on Vaccination with a Beneficiary-Centric approach in Vaccination for the first time in the Country. He plans to develop a social mobilization as an easy adaptation of his model through digital campaigns. Once enrolled, this model will close the chance of missing out vaccinations to zero per cent".

To receive funding, Jignesh Patel and other Grand Challenges Explorations winners demonstrated in a two-page online application a bold idea in one of seven critical global health and development topic areas. The foundation will be accepting applications for the next GCE round in September 2019.

Highlighting the role of CfHE in his success, Jignesh Patel, CfHE Fellow and Founder of VaccineOnWheels.com, said, “Vaccination is a right for every child and parents as a child can be protected from many life-threatening Vaccine-Preventable Diseases(VPD). VOW project works on - To increase the immunity of the child through vaccination instead of the child goes to the clinic, the ecosystem should appreciate parents and child by taking clinic to the child. The way every other industry believes and treats “Customer as King”, now it’s time to transform the vaccination delivery system in India by treating parents/infants as King. This will help India and Globe in increasing immunization coverage and keeping every child safe against all VPDs. To do so VaccineOnWheels.com will take appointment of caregivers to vaccinate their children and provide service with the mantra of “Anytime Anywhere” keeping in mind the overall cost of availing vaccination service far lower than existing facilities". 

About Grand Challenges Explorations 

Grand Challenges Explorations is a US$100 million initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Launched in 2008, over 1420 projects in more than 65 countries have received Grand Challenges Explorations grants. The grant program is open to anyone from any discipline and from any organization. The initiative uses an agile, accelerated grant-making process with short two-page online applications and no preliminary data required. Initial grants of US$100,000 are awarded two times per year. Successful projects have the opportunity to receive a follow-on grant of up to US$1 million.

About Vaccination On Wheels

Keeping the focus on “Increasing Demand for Vaccination through Convenience” in mind, Jignesh Patel, CfHE fellow at IIT Hyderabad in collaboration with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have developed a vaccination service model.  This unique, unconventional, creative, low-cost, high on convenience model has been designed with the idea of “reaching the bottom of the pyramid”.  Our pilot study will commence in Pune being the first city followed by 2 more cities within the Maharashtra state in a phase-wise manner. This service will be launched through Jivika Healthcare Pvt. Ltd. under the brand name of VaccineOnWheels.com

The 1 Year Residential Healthcare Entrepreneurship Program at Center for Healthcare Entrepreneurship, IIT Hyderabad helped Jignesh Patel to understand the gaps in vaccine delivery model from close quarters and identify various issues faced by diverse stakeholders primarily from infants/caregivers/parents in getting vaccinated.  The program helped me in understanding the on-ground bottlenecks of the Vaccination Delivery model in India (and also in various developing nations around the world). I envisage an organized and customized Vaccination Service for India as an answer to the issue.

Jignesh Patel of the CfHE (Center for Healthcare Entrepreneurship) - Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad in India will increase vaccination coverage among low-income urban populations in India by designing a mobile vaccine service including a smartphone-based management application that provides customized vaccinations at homes and schools, and at a lower cost. Vaccination offers excellent protection against many diseases, however, coverage is low among low-income populations in urban centres: immunization at private clinics is unaffordable, and public clinics have longer wait times leading to lost wages. They will develop an affordable, convenient, in-home vaccination service, and a smartphone-based management application to schedule appointments, automate routes, record vaccination data and collect customer feedback. Under the brand name of VaccineOnWheels.com through Jivika Healthcare Pvt. Ltd., they will pilot test their approach among low-income populations in three cities by recruiting certified & trained healthcare workers to evaluate its effect on vaccination coverage.


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