No poverty Health wellbeing Industry innovation infrastructure Reduced inequalities Partnerships

Longitudinal Study on Child Development Based on Wearable Technologies

Collection of data can sometimes be a difficult job due to unavoidable constraints. With the advancement in technology, wearables offer a potential turning point in the collection of research data in the developing world. To our knowledge, this project is the first to attempt to use wearables in the developing world for high-frequency data collection and interventions in the context of a longitudinal study. We aim to find the critical inflection points in child development using the data collected by these wearables.

One of the main steps towards the development of children is to know the actual state they are in and the reasons behind this state. To know this, collection of health data is very important. However, it can be sometimes very difficult to collect data in poor countries like Malawi due to the constraints of poor settings. An innovative way to do this is to use wearable technologies that can track an array of children’s biomarkers at high frequency, in order to collect and act on evidence regarding the mental and physical health of Malawian children living in poverty. In this research project, we propose to test novel strategies to collect data on child development based on wearable technologies. Wearables offer a potential turning point in the collection of research data as they have the potential to provide cheap, reliable, and novel forms of data. They can help us in providing higher quality and more quantity of critical data to help the world’s most vulnerable populations. It would also allow researchers to pin down precise mechanisms by taking advantage of natural experiments, event studies, and medication analysis. This would help public policies makers and donor programs to know where to target and when to intervene.

Preliminary work
Program area
No Poverty, Health Wellbeing, Industry Innovation Infrastructure, Reduced Inequalities, Partnerships
Inflection Points, Child Development
UNICEF Malawi, UNICEF Office of Innovation
Study type
Panel study, Randomized evaluation, Bio-markers
Sample size
10000 households
Research Team
Prof. Dr. Guilherme Lichand
Assistant Professor of Child Well-Being and Development
Simon Hänni
Onicio Leal

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