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Vaxi: Potent Vaccine Taxi

A well monitored cold carrier system paired with an app that brings back trust in vaccination in the Philippines.

Photo of Marichu Carstensen
10 11

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Describe what you intend to do and how you'll do it in one sentence (required 250 Characters)

MarLiCa Art Gym aims to use VAXI system to deliver potent vaccines, let the caregiver see proof of good handling within in the last mile transit, educate and promote immunization in the Philippines.

Explain the idea (less than 2,000 characters)

WHO estimates, 2.6 million Filipino children under the age of 5 years are not protected from measles. In February 2019 only 60% of children were getting their scheduled vaccines. There were 31,056 measles cases including 415 deaths were officially reported between 1 January and 13 April 2019, . Last year’s vaccine scare may be connected to all of these. All over the radio, TV and social media, news of death ,allegedly caused by a new vaccine, spread. The caregivers are scared. Trust in immunization is at an all-time low resulting to more vaccine doubts among carers. We are targeting first time mothers who have never experienced the advantages of having a fully immunized child. They are 24-27 years old, living in rural areas. First, potent vaccines have to be readily available, once a caregiver brings a child to the session site and fails to get the vaccine, it is hard for them to come back again. Instances of vaccine wastage lead to a short supply especially in far flung areas. Vaxi, an efficient cold carrier that delivers potent and safe vaccines is the solution. This carrier will benefit 18 million children ages 0-14 who live in rural communities. The community health workers are the ones accountable for the preservation of the vaccines and are directly in contact to the carers. They will be equipped with Vaxi, a carrier with a unique cooling system and temperature sensor, monitor and data logger within. Carers can check the way it was handled through the temperature recordings. . Once better products and services are delivered, trust will be built between the health worker and caregiver. A solid proof that what they are getting is viable. The health worker will post a selfie with the recipient on Vaxi social media pages. The caregivers may tag themselves once they like the page. There, the target person will read more reliable information about the vaccines. Once shared it can spread like the measles virus. This will serve as an immunization trust promotion.

Which part(s) of the world does this idea target?

  • North Africa
  • Eastern Africa
  • Middle Africa
  • Southern Africa
  • Western Africa
  • Caribbean
  • Central America
  • South America
  • Central Asia
  • Eastern Asia
  • South-eastern Asia
  • Southern Asia
  • Oceania

Geographic Focus (less than 250 Characters)

Geographically isolated distant areas, island, lowland, upland,landlocked, hard to reach communities with high poverty incidence, presence of of vulnerable sector, communities in or recovering from situation of crisis.

Who are your end users and how well do you know them? (750 characters)

The main asset of my country is its people. The health workers, though not adequately compensated, are smart, resilient, hardworking and dedicated to give quality service to the people. If we equip them with efficient and helpful tools to deliver the vaccines, they will be able to serve their people and gain the caregivers’ trust in return. With all the questions being raised in social media, caregivers get swayed and doubts are cast on the safety of vaccines. They need some kind of proof that can show them how the vaccines were handled. On demand, they can ask the health worker to show the data logger record. The Philippines, being a SELFIE nation, with people who loves being in sync with new technologies will surely be influenced.

How is the idea unique? (750 Characters)

Vaxi is unique in its design and features. MarLiCa Art gym is a community-based entity where creativity is encouraged, skills are being taught and collaboration is valued. Being a part of this, my experiences, as a doctor, an industrial designer and entrepreneur give us a big advantage. My network is vast and can be tapped to realize goals quickly. I am also a part of an app making company and the app needed for this can easily be made. I have the support of 2 Fab Labs and the people in it, my colleagues in medicine, Community health centers and now possible collaborations with some of the participants in this challenge! With the links among these channels, the possibilities are endless.

Idea Proposal Stage (Select 1)

  • Prototype: We have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing the idea.

How many months are required for the project idea? (140 characters)

I need 2 years to create a working prototype and test the system.

Organization Name (less than 140 characters)

MarLiCa Art Gym is a community based creative space teaching various skills from basic drawing, painting, crafts and design led by myself.

Type of Submitter

  • We are a For-Profit Startup or Startup Social Enterprise

Organizational Characteristics

  • Female-led organization

Organization Location (less than 140 Characters)

MarLiCa Art Gym, Km. 75, Barangay Inosluban, Lipa City. Philippines

What is the current scale of your organization’s work?

  • Community (working within one or a few local communities within a region)

Website URL

Tell us more about your organization/company (1-2 sentences)

The idea of MarLiCa Art Gym started 20 years when I started an art club to teach basic drawing to young people around my community next to my clinic and I observed that those who experienced arts and crafts developed strong characters and became successful individuals. 3 years ago after finishing my Industrial Design degree, I decided to put up a sustainable set up with a vision to guide more people to pursue art and create. Vaxi's success will inspire more to delve into their creativity.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (750 characters)

I will partner with the Department of Health in Manila, so they can assign the test areas. I had the cooperation of Lipa City District Health Center and many health workers in my local community while evaluating Vaxi. They will carry out the actual usage tests necessary to validate the claims of the Vaxi to get reliable evaluation results. I started a group called Flight of Hope after the onslaught of typhoon Yolanda organized my doctor colleagues, mountaineering friends and the whole community to help in a medical mission, rescue/ rebuilding in Tacloban. We then followed it up by holding livelihood workshops and supplied them with rice seeds. In just a week, I was able to tap into my network to make a huge task seem so small.

How many people are on your team?


Tell us more about you and your team

Louie L. Villaverde, Master of Engineering, BS Mechatronics. Head, LIKHA FabLab he and I will collaborate together with the engineers who are involved with the fab lab to create the working prototype of Vaxi. Dr. Mike Marasigan is an active voice in the medical community and very active in immunization campaigns. He can sound advice in tackling the product usage and testing once the prototype is ready. He can guide us on how to assess the product's efficiency and usage. He will collaborate with us further on testing our carrier. Tito de la Pena, currently a professor in the UP College of Fine Art, Industrial Design Department, one of the officers of Design Center Philippines and HEED is my guide in this design project from day one. He will continue to support me actively in this endeavor. John C, Lee will open his R and D space to make my working prototype. John Tan will do all my vacuum former requirements. I have a staff of 3 working on this project in the Art Gym.

Overview of How Your Concept Has Evolved (5-6 sentences):

Through the feedback gathered, I was able to adjust my prototype and concept. Seeing my business model in one canvas page gave me a clear perspective of what I have right now and the new prospects of the product. Kai Cowger is inspiring with his paperless feedback gathering. Over all, I have a stronger hold of my vision for Vaxi as a product with a good business potential.The recent feedback from the prototype webinar was positive. They gave me high ratings in its usability. I made several changes focusing on how it can empower caregivers and as a result is I added the data logger, app and selfie ideas. My prototyping support ,Ms. Giordano gave me some links for a solar powered charging product which I can use for the cooling system.

Viability (3-4 sentences and activity upload):

Feasibility (3-4 sentences):

I have attached the survey results done among health care workers. I have shared my work in the Linked in community of health workers and got some very good comments so far. After getting feedback from the IDEO team, I focused more on the aspect of the vaccine carrier that would make the caregiver trust the vaccines that are being given to their child. Isaac Jumba worried a bout the possible misuse of Vaxi so I will make a warning mark on the outside. Kathryn Giordano gave me some links to a foldable solar battery pack for my cooling system.

Desirability (3-4 sentences and activity upload):

A POST FOR A POST. The Philippines is suffering the scourge of vaccine doubts propelled by scary social media posts, gullible young first time mothers with no previous experience in vaccination easily believe whatever they read. It is time to counter this with a high impact, reality based post about a new Vaxi carrier that keeps the vaccine safe, monitors and logs temperature readings. It can be checked by caregivers through an app on the health workers' mobile phone as a proof of safety. The health worker talks more about it. They may then take a selfie and make a positive post on social media about her experience that can be seen by her friends, counteracting the negative information also circulating around the same platforms.

Community Focus (2-3 sentences):

The the latest vaccine controversy caused vaccine scare and doubt in the minds of the caregiver. Deaths from the recent outbreak may not be directly related to the scare but any kind of doubt can tear down the trust on immunization that took so long to establish. A repackaged reliable vaccine delivery can be the answer. The caregiver now has the power to know.

Community Impact (2-3 sentences):

The target community will now be assured of potent vaccines at all times. The circle of trust between the caregivers, health workers, pharmaceuticals and implementing government agencies will be stronger. Within one year, a higher number of satisfied and trusting caregivers can be measured through a feedback system. The 95% vaccination rate may be hit and herd immunity can be achieved. It can be sustained as it can be funded by other stakeholders who shall reap the benefits of a well functioning and reliable vaccine delivery system. The government hopefully can sponsor the new system.


Join the conversation:

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Photo of Marichu Carstensen

Hi Isaac, I sat down with the carrier manufacturer and discussed the pricing structure. The mold is the biggest investment but higher quantities can help spread the cost to bring it lower. I have feedback from my surveys earlier. I have attached it already.

Photo of Isaac Jumba

Thank you Marichu Carstensen for the update.


Photo of Marichu Carstensen

Dear Isaac,
I am having fun doing this! I have a new membership in a new team!

Photo of Isaac Jumba

Hi Marichu Carstensen 
Great to see the updates on your concept especially your business model canvas. As the refinement phases nears the end, it will be great to share updates on other aspects of your concept such as any new developments on the prototype and user feedback from tests, and your user experience map.

Quick question I had on your costs - are there minimum units that have to be manufactured for you to achieve sustainability?

Photo of Ashley Tillman

Hi Marichu Carstensen great to have you in the Challenge, I'm excited to learn what got you interested in the immunization space? And how some of your partnership conversations for this project are going?

Photo of Marichu Carstensen

Hi Ashley, I studied to be an industrial designer and I chose vaccine wastage as my problem for my thesis project. I want to use my some of my knowledge as a doctor in developing a product. Since immunization is a field riddled by big problems in delivery, monitoring and complacency, I chose this objective. I observed the common practices that highly contribute to vaccine wastage. Especially the vaccine spoilage at the last mile where there are unreliable facilities in place or erratic power supply. I zeroed in on the anatomy of the carrier and all the things that caregivers go through before they reach the session sites. Yes, we are monitoring correctly, yes we might have a good record, yes we are delivering on time. But my question is, how sure are we that the vaccines are actually unspoiled or still effective? So, the way the carrier is handle from the central health station to the remote sites for vaccination is the most fragile in the cold chain. I observed in detail the movement of the health workers and identified points to refine to avoid accidental freezing, exposure to heat and also took the health worker's conditions.
I did my research and prototype development and my project became the most outstanding thesis of our batch. I rested from it for a while and minded my Art Gym as I want to spread the value of art, creativity and design in our local community. Five days before the challenge's deadline, my colleague sent the link to me as he has read my thesis and he urged me to join this competition.
I have teamed up with Paul of Solar Polar and we will further our ideas by helping each other into converting this system to work. I have local partners who would help me concretely in producing the final product and testing it once it is working. I think that the collaboration happening here is really great!
Best regards,

Photo of Isaac Jumba

Hi Marichu Carstensen ,
Great to have you share your idea. I really liked the video as it helped me understand the problem you are solving and what solution you are providing. I especially like seeing how your solution addresses each of the problem highlighted.

I was curious to know what the current stage of the implementation is; are they in production? Do you have any partnerships with healthcare centers or organizations?
Since the idea phase is coming to an end in a few days, think about the following and update on your submission:
1. What organizations you can partner with to help implement your idea
2. The cost aspect - who is bearing it?
3. Is it possible to share some insights from your prototype tests?
4. What are your next steps
5. Do you see any potential areas of collaboration or sharing with Eric Mwenda 's idea on Solar powered recharge stations ?

Also, we would love for you to have a look at our other vaccine challenge and share your innovation there also. It would make a good fit. Please have a look:

Any other thoughts Anne-Laure Fayard Manisha Laroia ?

Photo of Marichu Carstensen

Thank you Isaac, for your encouraging message and comments. What I have right now is a prototype in PVC. I have presented this, explaining what it can do and how it works to the health workers. They have even tried carrying it themselves. I am hopeful that I can collaborate with a refrigeration engineer in the next phase of this challenge to add the cooling feature of this carrier. I will work with Likha FabLab an FABLAB of the UP College of Fine Arts, University of the Philippines. These are community fabrication labs, which are manned by staff from various fields collaborating for innovation. They will help me build a working prototype.
Once I have the right mechanism and the ideal battery, I can have them manufactured by a local factory that can produce coolers. I have the approval from Klio Food Keepers a branch of I-Tung Plastic Moulding and Engineering Company to collaborate and use their R and D department to produce a working prototype of the Vaxi carrier and trolley.
Since I am a medical doctor. I have a vast network of friends who are working in different segments of the health care system in the Philippines. All I have to do is produce the right working carrier based on my research and development then, the testing can be approved according to its merits.
I will partner with the Department of Health in Manila, so they can test the prototypes in the target areas. I have the cooperation of Lipa City District Health Center and many health workers in my local community otherwise, the first phase of my research would not be feasible.
There is a recent outbreak of measles recently which resulted to more than 250 deaths. The loss of trust in vaccines is being considered by the public as one of the reasons why vaccination is being skipped.(
There will be a great need for efforts to bring back confidence in the efficacy and safety of vaccines.
Insights from my prototype tests were based on the comparison between the current carrier and VaxiI. With regards to results of the tests, the ease of use, second ease in carriage, weight, efficiency and temperature monitoring were evaluated.
All the features added and modified based on the existing carrier were made to make vaccination an easy task for the health workers. To find out more about the result of the prototype tests, please see the video regarding the response of the sample users for Vaxi, that I have recently added.
Since this is an ideal project for the Department of Science and Technology and Design Center Philippines. I will try to source funding from these agencies so they can bear the cost of this project.
My next step is to fine tune the cooling aspect of Vaxi. I have connected with Paul of Solar Polar and he finds my project interesting. I see some potential collaboration with his group since they are deep into refrigeration.
I have connected with Eric Mwenda and I hope that I can manage to add some of the solar energy features to my carrier.
Thank you very much for taking time to read my presentation and to watch my video.

Photo of Isaac Jumba

Thanks for the update Marichu Carstensen !