Global Health Ideas

Finding global health solutions through innovation and technology

Archive for March 2007

Geography grab bag

Place and health has a long tradition.  The birth of modern spatial analysis of disease is often credited to John Snow’s London cholera map (sidebar: on our honeymoon to London, I took my wife on a public health pilgrimage to the Broad Street pump and nearby John Snow pub).  Check out the WHO’s health mapping site to get a sense how far it’s come.

Couple of interesting links on mapping.

Washington Post reports on “Maps with a Higher Profile

Maps as art takes an interesting twist in this Washington Post piece, “Here Be Dragons

From the Webyantra blog:

Mapunity (short for MAP for commUNITY) is a social entrepreneurship venture that is creating a Geographic Information System focused on socio-economic change.

Web 2.0 versions of social mapping exercises we used to do in the Peace Corps that overlay social networks and two dimensional representations of the physical world … Check out as one of a thousand examples of ‘mash-ups’ (how early 2006).

Finally social maps as networks uniquely located in cognitive space… is one of several sites offering “mind mapping” approaches to organizing knowledge.  Popular example at the SocialEdge.

Postscript –  A quick nod to a fun Feb 6th post at PSDblog “Development 2.0” on dev-tech ‘what-ifs’ .  The comments are definitely worth a read too.


Written by Ben

March 30, 2007 at 2:44 pm

New Report on Social Entrepreneurship

Yesterday at the Skoll World Forum a new report, Growing Opportunity, was released. I thought readers would be interested in their survey on social entrepreneurship, but I would only skim the health chapter as I found it lacking.

“WASHINGTON, Mar. 29, 2007 — Renewable energy, affordable and effective health care, and fighting climate change are just three of the major global problems currently being addressed by a new model of entrepreneurship, according to a new report by SustainAbility…Drawing on the results of a survey of more than 100 ‘social entrepreneurs’, “Growing Opportunity: Entrepreneurial Solutions to Insoluble Problems,” explores how business partnerships with these ‘social entrepreneurs’ offer benefits to both companies and communities.” Full press release.

This is the first report in what will be an annual series. If you don’t have time to read the report, you can find the key conclusions here. For a full copy in PDF version goto the GreenBiz website.

Health Chapter:
The survey does provide some good information, but the chapter on health was disappointing and lacking. Perhaps my expectations were too high, but I was put off by several things. First the health chapter highlighted the following thought: “For good or ill, there is a widespread and deeply held public unease at the role of private enterprise at the heart of healthcare delivery.”

growingopportunitycover.jpgI have no idea what this means and am not sure it is even true. It depends what part of the private sector? If we are talking about big pharma, sure, but that is only one piece in the healthcare delivery machine. And as far as non private sector options, there is equal if not more distrust and doubt in parts of governmental run healthcare whether that is in the US (the Walter Reed scandal comes to mind) or abroad where in many countries people purchase most of their healthcare from the private sector. For a sector/industry as complex as healthcare this quote is far too vague and general to be of any use. The lack of citations/references was also a bit troubling to me. I had other problems with the health chapter (email me if you want to hear additional thoughts), but that shouldn’t take away too much away from the overall report. I would still check out the survey portion. For another perspective on the overall report see Joel Makower’s thoughts.

Written by Aman

March 29, 2007 at 9:18 pm

Online chat with CGD President Mar 30th 11am

Nancy Birdsall, president of the Center for Global Development, will be online tomorrow from 11am-12noon EST answering questions about globalization and inequality.

Yesterday, she testified before Congress and challenged us to think beyond the “world is flat” characterization: “But the world is not flat. Those of us on the top, with the right education and in the right countries, can easily overlook the countries and the people stuck in deep craters across the global landscape.” (video available on the CGD website).

This looks like a very cool opportunity and way to reach your audience. Ask a question ahead of time for the online chat.

Written by Aman

March 29, 2007 at 10:30 am

Posted in Global Health

Social entrepreneurship

Lately there have been some interesting connections with projects on social entrepreneurship and I wanted to drop three links here. Yesterday I met with folks at the Rainer Fellows program in San Francisco. They provide a formal framework, training, and mentorship for young social entrepreneurs engaged in health and conservation.

The National Peace Corps Association recently started a podcast series with the SocialEdge (a Skoll Foundation program) focusing on social entrepreneurs who served in the Peace Corps. Great interviews with former PCVs doing everything from transportation to civil society to conservation. The March 26th interview with Carl Pope, director of the Sierra Club and former Peace Corps Volunteer in India (1967-69) is engaging.

The folks are featured on the New York Times. Check out the Nicholas Kristof NYT video.

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Written by Ben

March 28, 2007 at 10:44 am

More Conferences: Private Sector for Global Health

Besides the conference below there are several more coming up (see our previous post for a more complete list):

Unite for Sight, April 2007 – Is anyone attending? We may be going, email us if you want to meet up.
Global Philanthropy Forum @Google, April 2007

The folks at UToronto have put together a conference on Private Sector involvement with a heavy dose of biotech and global health. They have a blockbuster lineup including CK Prahalad, see the PDF Flyer for more details. Maybe someone can suggest a mockcelebrity death match” between the CK and Karnani at one of these conferences, I bet that would garner a huge turnout.

Mobilizing the Private Sector for Global Health Development
May 2-4 2007, MaRS Discovery District, Toronto: A three-day conference organized by the McLaughlin-Rotman Centre, Program on Life Sciences and Global Health at the University of Toronto, bringing together leaders from the global health community and executives of biotechnology firms from India, China, Brazil, South Africa, Canada, and the United States. The opening day will feature discussions on innovative business and financial strategies for stimulating development of health products for the developing world.

March 28th Update: This is Ben with a short addendum to Aman’s list. There’s a conference in Delhi April 12-13th organized by KfW, USAID/India, Packard Foundation and PSP-One called Vouchers for Health: Increasing Access, Equity, and Quality. I plan to attend and cover it for the THDblog.

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Written by Aman

March 27, 2007 at 5:08 am

Posted in Conferences

Point-of-Care Diagnostics Conference

There are a slew of conferences coming up. Here are a couple that are focused on global heath technologies and more specifically on point of care tools. For a background on this type of technology see this Nature article on global health diagnostics where they state: “Access to appropriate diagnostic tools is an essential component in global health. Diagnostics are crucial for identifying the presence and cause of disease at both the individual and population levels, correctly assessing the nature of disease, designating an appropriate course of treatment, monitoring the effects…” For details on what some of these technologies are, see the last device on the page of the Paul Yager Research group.

The first conference is next month at Rice University and it looks like Ruth Levine, from the Center for Global Development, will be presenting. Click on “tentative agenda” for the pdf here:

Later this year there will be another conference:
Washington DC, August 2007, CHI Point-of-Care Conference
Technologies are becoming available that will enable point-of-care assays that are rapid, accurate, and easy to use. The development of assays for applications in cardiac treatment, cancer, endocrine, immune disease, infectious disease will be highlighted, as well as the demand for generating reliable data and reducing costs associated with these tests.

  • Global Health Diagnostics, Steven Buchsbaum, Ph.D., Senior Program Officer, Global Health Technologies, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • FIND: Bridging the Gaps in the Development and Rollout of Innovative Diagnostics for Poverty Related Diseases, Giorgio Roscigno, M.D., Chief Executive Officer, FIND Diagnostics
  • Developing Low-cost HIV Viral Load POC Diagnostic Test for the Developing World, David M. Kelso, Ph.D., Associate Professor, MCC Biomedical Engineering, Northwestern University

Written by Aman

March 27, 2007 at 5:06 am

Posted in Global Health

Documentary Film Festival

There is an interesting international documentary film festival taking place in North Carolina, April 12-15th. Here is the description of Full Frame: “Founded in 1998 by Nancy Buirski, and now recognized as the premier documentary film festival in the United States by both The New York Times and indieWIRE, the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival celebrates the power and artistry of documentary film. Full Frame’s four days include 100 screenings of both new and curated films.”

There are a handful of films focused on global health issues. Check out AJ Schnack’s blog for a full list of all the films:


Written by Aman

March 27, 2007 at 5:05 am

Posted in Global Health