Assumptions, Hypotheses, and Assets

List ten non-obvious assumptions about your target customers (or organizations) that you need to validate.

Since our goal is to design a sickle cell anemia test strip which can be used for screening newborns, we will need to validate several assumptions. Some of these assumptions include that:
1. Mothers give birth primarily in health centers (not at home).
2. Mothers stay in healthcare clinics after giving birth long enough to have their child get tested.
3. If mothers do give brith at home, they still go into healthcare centers for “well-baby” checkups.
4. Mothers will be open to testing their child using a Western device.
5. Mothers will want to get their newborn tested.
6. Mothers will want to know if their child has sickle cell anemia or sickle cell trait.
7. Mothers have the power to give permission for testing (for example, father’s, who may or may not be involved in the birth process, are not required to give consent).
8. Health workers will have the work capacity to initiate sickle cell anemia screening protocols.
9. Healthcare workers are open to implementing “Western” medical products
10. Healthcare workers have the capacity to take care of patients who are diagnosed with sickle cell anemia (for example, they can educate them and provide penicillin prophylaxis treatments).

List ten hypotheses about your project that you need to test during fieldwork.
1. Our test is easy to use.
2. Our test has easy to understand readouts.
3. There is room in healthcare facilities to store our test
4. The storage environment (ex. Humidity and heat) supports our test strip.
5. Our test can reach healthcare facilities around the country (for example, there are mechanisms in place which we can utilize in the future to help deliver our test).
6. Testing both sickle cell anemia and sickle cell trait is desirable
7. Our test will allow newborns diagnosed with sickle cell anemia to receive penicillin prophylaxis treatments (for example, penicillin is readily available and there are no procedural guidelines which would prevent it from being used for this cause)
8. There are people in Sierra Leone who we can hire to promote the test strip, train how to use the test strip, and distribute the test strip.
9. There are no religious or cultural beliefs against using blood for medical testing
10. There are global or local to Sierra Leone NGOs which can help with paying for the test.

What do you think you bring to your team? How has your perception of your own strengths and weaknesses changed over the course of the class? Please be specific.

There are several strengths which I bring to my team. First, I have a lot of bioengineering lab and global health fieldwork experience. While working on two previous bioengineering research projects, I was able to develop basic lab skills, understanding, and the ability to organize a project using current literature. Additionally, while studying abroad in Vietnam, South Africa, and Argentina, I was able to develop skills interviewing people from different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds while working on a maternal and child health research project.

Additionally, the main personal trait which I believe I bring to the team is being a good listener. As a good listener, I tend to be good in group settings since I am open to other people’s opinions and ideas. Additionally, since I tend to closely hear what other people are saying, I am good at facilitating compromise between different interests or conflicts.

My perception of my strengths and weaknesses has also changed a little over the course of this class (and I believe will change a lot more during the field work). Specifically, because I am leading the sickle cell anemia GSIF team in the lab, I have really been able to develop leadership skills, and the ability to take initiative. I have also identified areas which I need to continue working on, for example, making sure to give team members more opportunities to ask questions, instead of just assuming that they will come to me if they need help.

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