Action Learning Case.
The Frugal Thermometer was selected as one of the Action Learning Cases in the Frugal and Responsible Innovation project. By studying a number of concrete cases of private partners from the water and health sector, the research team - which includes specialists in ethics, economics, engineering and policy analysis – is developing a new model for frugal innovation. Each case addresses a different building block for the integrative model. The theory behind it originates from (1) socio-technical systems; (2) early engagement in new technologies; (3) entrepreneurship; (4) inclusive business models and local economic development.
Under the umbrella of the Centre for Frugal Innovation in Africa, a cheap and safe medical device is being developed, adapted to local realities (such as the distance to a health facility) and taking into account cultural notions (e.g. explanatory models and categories of illness classifications). Clear cut-off points will help caretakers to decide when and where to seek help.
At the bottom of the pyramid tactile measurements of body temperature (e.g. with a hand against the forehead) are often the only diagnostic recourse for mothers and other caretakers of young children to establish fever. Research has shown this strategy to be inaccurate and unreliable when compared with objective measurements of body temperature (e.g. with a thermometer). Under-diagnosis of fever may lead to delayed health seeking, whereas over-diagnosis may lead to unnecessary self-treatment with antibiotics or antimalarial medications and neglect of non-febrile conditions, for instance lung-diseases or malnutrition.
Learn more about the development process of the Frugal Thermometer:
Watch the clip below to see the prototype: