GSIF Post #7 Rohan Ekambaram

There are many assumptions that our research group has to make when designing our final product. We have to assume that people will trust our product when it enters the market. Some people might look at the results from the test strip and dismiss them because they believe the strip is wrong. We also assume that people will want to learn about UTI’s once we start up the educational programs in country. We have to assume that people will want to buy more boxes or encourage their Community Health Clinic to buy some after the classes. We also have to assume that the Community Health Workers will continue to use the skills we taught them after we leave the country. It is extremely hard to have someone check when the clinics are spread out so much, but we have one employee who will be training all the CHW’s so he has some checks on them. Another assumption that we have is that the marketing license will be acquired. That is an integral part of our project especially for when we are in country. Without that we would not be able to do the advertising that is necessary for this project. We also have to assume that people will want to buy our product when we put it into circulation. There is a stigma against people with UTI’s and that might be so engrained with some people that we cannot change that. We also have to assume that our marketing strategy will work. We have put a lot of effort into planning it but we will only know for sure when we get in country. We also have to assume that customs will not have any problems with our packages of boxes. There are often mixups and confiscations when shipping to a not as well organized system. We also assume that our target consumers have a way to get to the test strips we are providing. We might be missing more people that are too far away from any CHC’s. We also have to assume that the quality control system that will be in place will survive the shipping to farther out CHW’s. This is something that we have to make sure of that when we are in Sierra Leone.

There are a couple things that we need to test when we get in country. We need to test whether or not the system of quality control for the bottles work in country and that it is easy to read.¬†We are also designing a radio program to broadcast information about UTI’s and we have to make sure that the people who are listening are the ones who need that information the most. The second assumption that goes along with this point is that we need people to respond to the program and feel knowledgable enough to recognize the symptoms of a UTI. We designed the radio program to do this but we will only know for sure once we test it. We also need to test that our system of employees is working out for the better of the project. If there needs to be some changes, we can make those when we are in Sierra Leone. With that we also need to make sure that we have enough employees. The system might work, but without enough people on staff it could still fail. We have to also test the viability of our shipping methods while we are in country and make sure that it can handle the load of test strips. We have one person on a bike which we have had work in the past but we have to be absolutely certain. We also have to test the effectiveness of the training procedure that we are making for the CHW’s. It might have all the proper information, but we have to present it in a way that is understandable. We have to also test the record keeping system we have in place, since we are revamping it a little bit. We need to test the effectiveness of our payment plans as well to make sure the employees respond the way we hope. Finally, we need to test the effectiveness of our strips and how accessible they are to people.

I feel as though I present a different perspective than most while I am with my research group. I was fortunate enough to travel a good amount before college when I would visit family in India or earn trips to Europe by playing with different ensembles. I feel as though I have a much more diverse point of view than most and I try to bring those ideas into the work we do. The way I have begun to view myself has changed over the course of this project. I used to believe that my strength was in leading, but once you realize that there are other people who are more knowledgeable about a subject you have to learn to take a step back.

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