PDC Healthcare, the global leader in ID solutions, is honored to be participating in a global health initiative designed to make a significant impact on the quality and timeliness of healthcare in underserved populations.
The Immunization Challenge in Pakistan
The World Health Organization estimates that vaccinations help save over 2.5 million lives globally every year; however, in Pakistan, a staggering 60% of children do not complete their full immunization schedule.1 As a result, preventable diseases like meningitis, pneumonia, measles, and whooping cough claim more than 100,000 lives there each year.2 Timely completion of vaccinations is key, and delays can result in deadly outbreaks.
There are many challenges, however, that prevent children from underserved populations like Pakistan from receiving a timely and complete immunization schedule. According to the Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey (PDHS) 2012-13, 69% of women from low socio-economic households deliver at home, which means that their children are less likely to receive timely vaccinations or complete their full vaccination schedule.3 Children who receive medical attention are given vaccination reminder cards, but if the cards are lost, damaged, or the mother cannot read the paper reminder, a child is more susceptible to delayed vaccinations, or may miss them altogether.
Gates Foundation Awards Grant to Dr. Rakshani and Trust for Vaccines and Immunizations (TVI) to Develop Vaccine Indicator Reminder (VIR) Band
Dr. Noor Sabah Rakshani, having worked as a primary care physician in Pakistan, knew the challenges families in Pakistan faced regarding vaccination completion. As a result, Dr. Rakshani wanted to create a vaccination reminder that would solve the problems brought forth by paper vaccination reminders. The solution would need to be both durable and culturally acceptable to parents and guardians of the infant patients. In the fall of 2012, the Gates Foundation found Dr. Rakshani’s idea to be bold and innovative, and awarded her and her partner non-profit organization, Trust for Vaccines and Immunizations (TVI), the Grand Challenges Explorations grant.
Working together through several iterations of the product design and performance, Timestrip®, PDC Healthcare, Dr. Rakshani, and the TVI team were able to advance field testing of the innovative and breakthrough Vaccine Indicator Reminder (VIR) Band. The VIR Band provides a simple, effective, and low-cost method for monitoring compliance and reminding parents and guardians when vaccine administration is needed over the first 14 weeks of a child’s life. Timestrip’s® patented liquid technology is activated by a simple finger push. Activation and time progression are highly visible with a quick glance, due to the red liquid indicator sealed inside the Timestrip®. The liquid travels along the clear window of the Timestrip® located inside three distinctly-colored ankle bands, marking progress of their respective 4 or 6 week vaccination milestones. This process alerts parents, guardians, and caregivers when each vaccine is due, at which time a new band is issued.
PDC Healthcare Contracted to Perfect Wristband Design for Vaccine Indicator Reminder (VIR) Band
Dr. Rakshani’s design team turned to PDC Healthcare and their expert team of trusted innovators to develop and refine a design for the VIR band that would securely and comfortably attach to a child’s ankle. They needed a band to house the Timestrip® indicator, which needed to be not only comfortable, but waterproof and durable enough to withstand the everyday heat and humidity that is typical for the region.
PDC’s team of R&D engineers perfected the VIR band design and performance. Each band is made of comfortable silicone and equipped with a unique numerical identifier when issued to the child, to match the child’s medical chart. The band is attached to the infant’s ankle with a closure that is adjustable and extremely secure.
Following a successful initial ‘Phase 1’ field test of 100 infants that was completed in Pakistan, Phase 2 testing, funded by 3ie (International Initiative for Impact Evaluation), is currently underway in Pakistan and Nigeria, with an expanded population sampling estimated at 800-1000 infants. PDC Healthcare is dedicated to helping Dr. Rakshani’s vision of protecting every child against vaccine-preventable diseases, regardless of his/her social class or ethnic group, become a reality.
1 “New Vaccination Reminder Band Made Possible by Timestrip & Trust for Vaccines and Immunization (TVI).” Timestrip. 26 Mar. 2015. Web. 28 Aug. 2017.
2 Yakutchik, Maryalice. “The Dream.” Hopkins Bloomberg Public Health Magazine. Fall 2015. Web. 30 Aug. 2017.
3 National Institute of Population Studies [Pakistan] and ICF International. 2013. Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey 2012-2013. Calverton, Maryland, USA: National Institute of Statistics and ICF International.