Nature issues a correction to its article which talked about the CellCentives idea (local copy available)

CellCentives wins the $7500 Yunus Innovation Challenge at the MIT IDEAS competition! (May 2007) Press Coverage

CellCentives is awarded a development grant by the MIT-IDEAS committee (Dec 2006)

Past and current members

And how we got together...

The context

CellCentives was entered into the MIT IDEAS contest through the Yunus Innovation Challenge to Alleviate Poverty

Our partners

Bwino helped develop the software.

We are working with MIT Clinical Research Center to conduct a trial to test out the software. Initial field trials are being planned in Hyderabad, India in June. 


CellCentives is a mobile phone based software solution to support drug regimen adherence being applied to fight TB.

The Problem

Tuberculosis (TB) is a silent killer worldwide. According to the Indian Ministry of Human Health & Welfare, one adult dies from TB every minute, making it the worst infectious disease in India. Although TB is curable, the major stumbling block in eradication efforts has been its protracted drug regimen of antibiotics that need to be taken over an 8-month period. Drug intake needs to continue long after externally visible symptoms disappear. Irregular drug intake has led to not only the persistence of TB in the individual and community, but also the proliferation of dangerous multi-drug resistant forms of TB.

Youth in the 15—34 age range account for over half of the cases. We believe this population can be influenced to adhere to guidelines by providing proper incentives. Small incentives have been remarkably successful in promoting the attendance of AIDS patients in Malawian clinics.

Our Solution 

CellCentives is an innovative software-based solution with reminders, incentives and community involvement to help enforce drug adherence. We distinguish ourselves from other incentive schemes by incorporating patentable software-based methods to restrict incentives to a short time window, thereby ensuring timely tablet intake. We also offer incentives to the community to help enforce drug adherence and promote the use of our proposed solution. 

The CellCentives software will distributed on mobile phones which are rapidly catching on in India, especially amongst the youth, who are most vulnerable  to TB.

Please email to request further details. 

Comparison with DOTS

Directly Observed Treatment (Short course) or DOTS is the WHO supported  program currently being implemented by the TB Control Programme of the Indian Ministry of Health and family welfare. CellCentives works within the framework of DOTS but provides a low-cost alternative to a key step in the process. 

One of the five elements of DOTS is to ensure drug adherence by having health care providers/community DOT providers directly monitor the drug intake (Hence the name "Directly Observed Treatment").  CellCentives offers a more cost effective, automated means of encouraging timely tablet intake. 

We believe that repurposing the "DOT" money to distributing cell phones will yield increased connectivity, better cell phone infrastructure, and other long-term side benefits to rural India. We are looking at GrameenPhone like models that incorporate microfinancing schemes.

Future Plans

While our initial focus is TB eradication, in the future we plan to market CellCentives to HMOs as a proactive strategy for drug adherence. Effective drug adherence for other long-regimen diseases such as Diabetes and Hypertension will reduce the operational costs of HMOs.