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Collaboration Case Study


Protecting the Leaders of Tomorrow

Introduction

The Road to Health Chart was designed by the South African government to track children’s health history. This chart is an accurate, reliable record of a child’s physical wellbeing and development. It is used for the early detection of disease as well as developmental and nutritional problems; and for the positive reinforcement of behaviours that promote growth in children. As the chart is often the only link between health workers and a child’s parents or caregivers, it helps improve the identification of children with special needs.

Before partnering with DuPont to find a solution that could withstand the test of time, the chart was ineffective, as a result of data fading, exposure to extreme heat and water, and general wear and tear. The South African Department of Health needed a solution - a chart printed on a substrate that could protect the data throughout the document for over seven years.


Background

The average woman that uses the Road to Health Chart lives in a rural area. She walks long distances, and because of poor infrastructure, often crosses lakes to get to the nearest clinic. In cultural practices, African women do not use hand bags to carry valuables – this adds another challenge. The chart would traditionally be kept by the mother’s chest, which is exposed to perspiration and water – this results in smudging and fading of data as well as tearing.


Aims & Objectives

  • To supply mothers with a chart that could track children’s health history over seven years
  • To produce a document that is light weight, durable, foldable, tear-, puncture- and water resistant as well as writable with an ordinary pen
  • To produce a document that does not become brittle or crack after extensive use
  • To produce the chart from a substrate that accommodates Africa’s heat, lack of infrastructure (in rural areas) and cultural practices
  • To produce a compact chart that allows all of the necessary health information to be easily recorded and viewed by officials in any health clinic, hospital or school

Challenges

  • A solution specifically tailored to the needs of African women in rural communities
  • Children’s health history is recorded on a physical document only, which is updated manually, with no back-up or electronic copy
  • The chart is exposed to environmental conditions
  • To find a substrate that met the Department of Health’s requirements for the Road to Health Chart

Approach

In aim of producing a long-lasting data card for tracking children’s health history, the South African Department of Health turned to DuPont to find a solution that met their requirements. Chosen as a viable alternative to paper, DuPont™ Tyvek® offered the tear-, water- and puncture resistant properties needed to protect a document, such as the Road to Health Chart, for a minimum of seven years.

DuPont collaborated with the South African Department of Health and Marshall Hinds (DuPont™ Tyvek® distributor), to create a chart that is sustainable and met the desired requirements. The partnership included a series of successful trials to ensure that the Road to Health Chart would indeed stand the test of time.


Successes

  • Successful trials and preliminary analyses of the printing substrate
  • Proven ability to keep track and record reliable data for seven years
  • Printing substrate unmatched in the market
  • Roll-out of Road to Health Chart, printed on DuPont™ Tyvek® in all nine Provinces of South Africa
  • Substrate of choice for official documents of the South African Departments of Education, Home Affairs and Social Development, since 1994

Conclusion

The successful roll-out of the Road to Health Chart was as a result of great collaboration between the South Africa Department of Health, Marshall Hinds and DuPont. Together, we solved the challenges that African women experienced with keeping their children’s health records safe, despite exposure to the environmental conditions and unique cultural practices. We are proud of the fact that the South African government has been using DuPont™ Tyvek® for more than a decade to track children’s health records, thereby decreasing the number of child deaths as a result of development diseases and nutrition problems. DuPont™ Tyvek® is a printing substrate unparalleled in the market.



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