Mobile app intervention to improve child health in underprivileged Indian communities

Helping parents make better child nutrition and immunisation decisions

The challenge

Undernutrition contributes to more than half of all deaths of children under the age of five and is directly linked with economic development (Unicef, 2018a). Lack of immunisation is also a widespread problem in poor communities. Liquidity constraints can make food products unaffordable, resulting in low nutrition intake for poor children. And despite comparatively better economic development, children in India are more likely to be undernourished than sub-Saharan African children (Deaton and Dreze, 2009).

The intervention

In this collaborative project with Saathealth, a social enterprise providing digital tools for children’s health, nutrition and development, informational videos are sent to users through a mobile app and food subsidies are given to parents at local stores who view the videos. The research examines how providing information through an app affects child nutrition and immunisation decisions of poor parents and child health outcomes. The study also looks at how the aesthetic appeal of the content affects scaling of interventions and the role of parental gender.
The impact
Proper nutrition and immunisation are fundamental to the health of infants and small children. The app is being used by over 100,000 slum-dwellers in India already, with a rapidly growing user base, and the knowledge gained through this research is expected to throw light on how to increase the effectiveness of government and private sector initiatives that target child health and increase immunisation rates.


Kamalini Ramdas, Professor of Management Science and Operations, London Business School

Alp Sungu is a PhD student in Management Science and Operations, graduating class 2022 at London Business School. In his research, Alp is interested in understanding operational restrictions in resource-limited environments, with the aim to improve the delivery of services targeting the poor. Alp’s research examines mobile data usage of the poor and nutrition challenges in urban slums.

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