Bhopal teen earns Sandberg's praise for app detecting birth defects

  • Shruti Tomar, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
  • Updated: Aug 26, 2015 23:59 IST
Bhopal teenager Harsh Songra earned praise from Sheryl Sandberg for developing a mobile phone application that helps parents detect disorders in their newborns. (HT Photo)

Bhopal teenager Harsh Songra earned praise from Sheryl Sandberg, one of social networking giant Facebook’s top officials, for developing a mobile phone application that helps parents detect disorders in their newborns – a challenge Songra’s parents grappled with till he was 9 years old and was diagnosed with dyspraxia.

“Harsh Songra is a 19-year-old software developer from India. He grew up with a condition called dyspraxia. Because he lived in a small town without access to health information, he wasn't properly diagnosed until he was nine years old. Harsh wanted to make sure other families didn't have to go through the same thing, so he built an app called MyChild that helps parents find out if their child might have a developmental disorder. It provides basic screening by asking simple questions – and can even recommend specialist doctors,” Sandberg wrote in a Facebook post late on Tuesday.

Songra’s application zeroes in on possible birth defects by asking parents to fill questionnaires that record behaviour in children. The application has received more than 1,000 downloads on Google’s application store.

Sandberg, a key figure in the global IT industry, went on to say in her post: “We're supporting developers like Harsh who have great ideas but can't always access the resources they need. Facebook's FBStart program helped MyChild get started by providing technical support, so that Harsh could focus on making the app even better. If you're a developer with a big idea, you can apply for free tools and mentorship from Facebook”.

Songra is now busy in upgrading the programme to enable it to help parents catch developmental disorders even when the child is in the fetal stage.

“I am happy that Sandberg appreciated my app in her post. I have attended a programme of ‘FB start developer’ held at Bangalore on August 11. Around 500 developers from across the country participated in the programme but FB COO choose me”, Songra told HT.

Songra has started learning android programming from the age of 16-years.

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