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Project Pasteur

Redesigning children’s health records to impact global health

In developing countries, widespread childhood vaccination is a major public health challenge. The Gates Foundation estimates that 1.5 million children die each year from vaccine-preventable diseases such as diarrhea and pneumonia. While most health records in the U.S. are electronic, paper is still the standard for much of the developing world due to its affordable and portable nature. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched the Records for Life contest calling on global health and design communities to make the paper immunization card more accessible, legible and useful for patients and health workers to help ensure that children get the life-saving vaccinations they need. Pasteur is the Grand Prize award-winning design submitted by gravitytank.


Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation



Featured Outcomes

Research insights pertaining to global healthcare ecosystems
Concept development and recommendations
Immunization record prototype


Through research we discovered that vaccination records are complex documents and in an effort to provide comprehensive information, they often emphasize quantity of data over quality and relevance. As a result, vaccination records are neither meaningful nor useful to both caregivers and healthcare workers. To address these issues gravitytank proposed ‘Pasteur’ a suite of tools designed to support the goal of universal immunization while attending to the very real constraints of healthcare and home life in those communities most in need of immunization support. After the designs were tested with global healthworkers, gravitytank's submission was honored to receive the Grand Prize at the 2014 IxDA conference in Amsterdam. Pasteur is comprised of four parts:

  • An immunization record in the form of a booklet with an intuitive visual layout for tracking information
  • A booklet holder that conceals most of the record but exposes two pieces of critical information to a parent after their child's immunization: the next vaccination date and a photo of the child
  • Educational cards on family health topics, such as childcare tips during pregnancy, infant care, and vaccination schedules
  • Use of simple digital technology (e.g., cellphone) to initiate and support a schedule for vaccinations

Complete Pasteur system


The submission has since been featured in Fast Company Co.Design,, Design Observer and Mental Floss. The gravitytank team behind this effort included David O'Donnell, Nick Maschinski, Amy Guterman, Elena Valentin, Andrew Bates, Arielle Deane, and Tiffany Huang.


gravitytank is excited about the potential future impact of these records on global health. Following the competition, key principles from the winning designs were codified into a set of design guidelines by the World Health Organization and their partners. These guidelines will be applied to an initial group of country immunization records for production during the upcoming global introduction of the Polio vaccine (IPV). Additional information on the innovation process and components of Pasteur is available here.

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