Sunday, July 26, 2015

Week 6: Back into the Village!

On Sunday night, my design professors Oscar Mur-Miranda and Ben Linder arrived at IDDS to help support teams as they prototype and determine their final project direction. It was so great to see familiar faces from Olin!

Community Visits II (Monday, July 20th 2015 – Wednesday, July 22nd 2015):
At this point, all of the IDDS design teams have their area of opportunity framed are generating ideas for solutions. Here is a list of the eight design teams and their topic. During their first visit in their communities, the teams focused on gather information and identifying areas of opportunity. This time, the teams went back to their community to receive feedback on their solution ideas with users and stakeholders.

There are four different community sites where the eight teams went. I spent most of my community visits traveling with Zubaida and Habib to visit three of the four community visit sites: Kuthambakkam village (~45 min. – 1hr away), Tribal Health Initiative (~5 – 6 hours away), and Chengalpet (~1 hr away, which is where I was located last week).

On Monday, we went to Kuthambakkam. The design team focusing on preventing anemia by increasing iron intake met with Mr. Elango and then interviewed some of the women working in the shop. I sat in on the discussions and saw where ayzh produces their kits!

On Tuesday, we drove to Tribal Health Initiative (THI), a small private healthcare center integrated within the community village. The long roads to THI was so bad a “non-pregnant woman would deliver”; however, visiting THI was worth it. Imagine a hospital in the woods. There were little trails connecting the different buildings surrounded by trees. The air felt so fresh. Acres of fields stretched out just on the other side of wire fence. It was beautiful. The setup was refreshing compared to the jail-like gates separating buildings and areas packed with people in need waiting that I have previously seen.

Tribal Health Initiative Sign
At THI, Zubaida allowed me to sit in on her conversation with a couple nurses who distribute ayzh’s clean birth kit (CBK) to women on their last pre-natal checkup. The CBK is given ahead of time with the intention that the mothers will bring the CBK with them to the institution they deliver at. Because I discovered not many mothers know about infection last week, it’s encouraging that healthcare workers explain the purpose of the kit before delivery to educate the mother about infection and the importance of clean birth.
An IDDS team synthesizes their experience testing their ideas with users in the morning

On Wednesday morning, I went to Chengalpet by myself to continue interviewing new mothers and pregnant women on their perception of their delivery (See “mini-study” in Week 5). This time my translator was Sujatha, previous president of the International Planned Parenthood Association for the South Asia region. I am honored she was even willing to devote a couple hours to help me with my interviews! Could I get a better translator to myself?

We went to a small district hospital that was giving out vaccines for pregnant women and new mothers. There, we talked with 4 new mothers with infants that were just a few days old. During the interviews, Sujatha was amazing at helping the women feel comfortable and translating accurately. Then, one woman we interviewed mentioned that two of her neighbors were pregnant. We hopped in the car with her and went over to her house.

Soon after we arrived, two pregnant women, both who have delivered before and were now around 7 months pregnant, emerged from their houses. We sat on a mat as we talked about how they were feeling about their upcoming delivery. When I asked if they had any complications with their first delivery, one said no and the other said a C-section. When I asked how long they stayed in the hospital, the one with normal delivery said 3-5 days and one who had a C-section said 8 days. When I ask if they had any complications such as an infection, a woman, who was listening on our conversation, mentioned she had an infection after delivering her second child (who was now 2). I asked where she think she got the infection and she claimed to have gotten the infection from a bad apple at the hospital. Then, the women who had a C-section mentioned she got an infection in her stitches and had to stay in the hospital for ten more days. At first, I was really confused because this information contradicted what she previously said of staying the hospital for 8 days. After clarifying, she stayed a total of 18 days in the hospital after delivering her first child because of the C-section (first 8 days) and infection (the next 10 days). Wow! This was fascinating! It surprised me that the woman who spoke up about her infection in the hospital attributed it to a bad apple. Infection seems to be an issue that the women do not talk about because they haven’t been given the information of knowing where infection can come from and how to recognize it.

Let's talk about clean birth!
At the end of the interviews, I gave each woman a clean birth kit and collected their contact information to do a follow-up interview on their experience after they deliver in the Fall.

Thursday, July 23rd 2015: IDDS potluck!!! We went off-campus to a farmhouse for people from different areas to cook food from their home region. Although the cooking took a long time, the food was delicious!!!

Friday, July 24th 2015: We had the first ayzh meeting with the entire team in person (10 people in all)!! I felt honored to even be invited as an intern!

Upcoming this week:

It’s the last week of IDDS – Aarogyam. Participants are building prototypes to prepare for their final presentations on this Friday at 3:00pm on campus!

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