Assam has the highest proportion of Indians who have tuberculosis than any other state. Medicines need to be taken regularly to obliterate the bacteria and lower the chances of a relapse. But most patients aren’t very aware.
A former IIT Guwahati student, Himanshu Seth has come up with a low-cost medical kit that not only dispenses medicine for TB, but also educates the patient.
He called it Parichaya, which is a plate-shaped device which uses touch-responsive audio and visual interface.
As the medicine is dispensed, the patient hears an audio recording about why they need to take this particular medicine.
“In our opinion, the government has always been about tracking, not awareness. While tracking is important, if you create awareness as well because India is social in nature, people will start learning about it, and it will have a larger impact in the long run,” Keyur Sorathia, Himanshu’s faculty supervisor told Scroll.in.
Doctors usually advise their patients to give a gap between each medicine to avoid side effects. Parichaya uses this gap of five to six minutes to interact with the patient, where they can listen to around 14 segments of information. A new disc is provided at each treatment session.
“After patients are diagnosed, they have to travel to a clinic 50 times because they have to take their medication in view of an observer,” Shelly Batra, head of Operation ASHA, told Scroll.in.
Parichaya, she says, is a good addition. The kit has also won the Gandhian Young Technological Innovation Award this year.
It took eight months to pilot Parichaya at a local level. Himanshu and Keyur now hope they can pitch the idea to the government and spread its reach to treat Assam’s TB crisis. No technology of this sort exists in the state.