Mobile diagnostic and screening toolkit for urban slums settings

Sheffield investigators

Professor Luc de Witte

Professor Mark Hawley

Sheffield researchers

Sarah Abdi


Zuyd University of Applied Sciences

Bangalore Baptist Hospital

BMS College of Engineering, Bangalore

EHE Innovations, Bangalore

Icarus Design, Bangalore


EPSRC GCRF Institutional Sponsorship Funding – Research and Innovation Services – the University of Sheffield

About the project

The project aims to outline the development of a multifunctional and modular diagnostic and screening toolkit that can be operated by non-medically trained people in the urban slums of India and other low resource areas.

Urban slums are characterised by extreme poverty, housing of poor structural integrity, overcrowding, poor access to water, limited access to health services and other challenging living conditions. All these factors work in concert to compromise the health and wellbeing of slum communities and make them vulnerable to largely preventable health issues.

Active screening and point of care diagnostics in the community without people having to go to hospital or health centres, can play a major role in improving the health situation of slum dwellers, and can help to direct the limited medical staff capacity towards those slum dwellers that need health care the most.

This project commenced in July, 2016 and is a joint initiative between the University of Sheffield, Zuyd University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands, and academic, healthcare and industrial organisations in India under the programme Health in Slums.

The project was split into two phases:

Phase one

The aim was to identify priority health issues in urban slums in Bangalore. This phase was of an exploratory nature, hence efforts were made to seek as much and as rich, relevant information as possible from a range of sources. A systematic literature review, interviews, group discussions and a workshop was used during this phase.

This phase ended in October 2016.

Phase two

Phase two began in November 2016 and involved designing and developing a conceptual model of a mobile toolkit to perform a number of diagnostic and screening tests relevant to the priority health issues in urban slums.

The results of this project helped to develop a more exhaustive research plan that included the actual development and testing of the toolkit and its embedding in daily care practice. This project will be relevant to any setting where there is no or limited access to healthcare, as exist particularly in some areas of Africa, Asia and South America.

More about the Health in Slums programme