Global Health Ideas

Finding global health solutions through innovation and technology

Archive for April 2007

Dharavi: Mumbai’s Shadow City


“As Mumbai booms, the poor of its notorious Dharavi slum find themselves living in some of India’s hottest real estate...Few homes have running water or toilets, but a household without a television is uncommon in Dharavi.” (FP Blog)

National Geographic has a great feature on Dharavi, one of the largest “slums” in the world (hat tip to the FP Blog and Roger for sending this my way). The photo essay and multimedia are definitely worth checking out. I am guessing that there are many individual health projects going on in Dharavi but I was not able to find much information; check out for their coverage last year on a pilot health insurance scheme. Next year a majority of our global population will live in urban areas, with urban slums being the fastest growing human habitat. Dharavi has 1 Million people packed into a square mile and generates over $500 Million worth of goods per year, or as BBC has put it, this shadow city has over $650M in annual business turn over. There is supposedly 1 toilet for every 1400 people there with most of those being non-functional.

Unfortunately National Geographic has not offered many opportunities in the way of options on helping those in need, but you can see the two charities they selected here: how to help.

Other Sources:
-Waste not, want not. Observer coverage, another excellent piece. Photo essay, article
-Trival Matters blog, coverage of various industries in Dharavi, link
-NPR coverage from 2004, link

Written by Aman

April 30, 2007 at 5:53 am

Posted in Global Health

New health technologies in foreign aid: NYC roundtable

The Council on Foreign Relations is organizing an upcoming Global Health Roundtable Series, May-July about putting effective health technologies to work in developing countries. In each session, a specific technology will be explored that appears to offer life-saving benefits, and ask why that innovation is under-utilized, poorly funded, even controversial. Topics include:
– Male circumcision
– Eye glasses
– HPV and HIV vaccines
– Single use syringes

I would suggest several more: misoprostol for treatment of postpartum hemorrhage (one of the leading causes of maternal death in low-income countries), relatively simple cataract surgery (think Aravind eye care), fistula repair, cleaner burning cook stoves, and resilient point-of-use water filters.

More important than any particular technology, and getting directly to the question of utilization, effective finance strategies are needed. In much the same way that US food aid is being reframed as a local demand issue, these technologies will only be successfully scaled when local demand is strong. Perhaps nothing demonstrates this more clearly than male circumcision. It requires choice and volition. Strategies like the use of subsidized vouchers for circumcisions at accredited providers empowers the patient or patients’ parents to find a high quality circumcision provider. New voucher projects in Uganda and Kenya offer lessons for management of voucher programs for health services.

Written by Ben

April 29, 2007 at 2:25 am

Posted in Global Health

World Malaria Day: Innovation and the role of Nets

Insecticide Treated Nets (ITN) are currently a key intervention against malarial mosquitos and have been shown to reduce all cause mortality in children under five by 20%. (Lengeler C, Cochrane Review, 2002.) Pregnant women are also vulnerable to severe complications of malaria and recommended interventions are ITNs and intermittent preventative treatment with SP (sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine).

Despite the proven successes of ITNs in preventing malaria, the distribution of bed-nets is not universal. Baseline levels of ITN measured between 1997 and 2001 were as low as 2-3% in most African countries. It was decided that improving ITN distribution could be a quick win for the Roll Back Malaria initiative. Key barriers to distribution included: a lack of funding for ITNs, inadequate distribution channels, and the cost of nets. In addition, ITNs need to be retreated with insecticide to maintain effectiveness, so insecticide must also be supplied. Several countries consider ITNs textiles, and not essential medical supplies, so they are subject to import taxes, which further increases their price.

One promising innovation in ITNs is led by a group from the University of Leeds, who are developing a non-insecticide bednet that will kill mosquitos based on the material structure. They have received significant funding from the Gates Foundation. If successful, this will help with the loss of effectiveness of existing nets, where insecticides wash out after about 20 washes, as well as the increasing resistance to insecticides that mosquitos are developing.

Here are some news reports on the progress of ITN Distribution, but I wasn’t able to find a comprehensive report on distribution.

Simple Bed Nets Key to Preventing Malaria: CTV

Africa Marks Day for Deadly Malaria: Mail and Guardian, South Africa

Another reason for the inadequate coverage of ITNs has been a lack in funding. This is primarily an international health investment issue, but civil society has been getting into the act and a new grassroots initiative Malaria No More caught my eye.  Malaria No More personalizes your role in the effort against malaria – Donate $10 and buy a bed-net! This is a small and do-able effort for most people, who want to see a tangible benefit from their donation.  Malaria No More is sponsoring a wide range of fundraisers including Music to End Malaria which was created to get college students involved in the fight against the disease. More than 50 colleges and universities around the country have signed on to raise money and in the lead up to the first US Malaria Awareness Day, campuses will organize bed net demonstrations, T-shirt sales, BBsQuito cookouts, film screenings, festivals, informational sessions with public health experts, and more. Joining with major recording artists, Music to End Malaria will culminate with awareness-raising concerts on campuses in Atlanta (April 25), Geneva, NY (April 28), and New York City (April 30).

Ashley Judd has weighed in with commentary on Malaria No More and PSI’s initiative Five & Alive on CNN.

Written by farzaneh

April 25, 2007 at 9:15 am

Africa Malaria Day 2007


On Monday I was lucky enough to be on a conference call with the heads of the four organizations below. In a nutshell, the organizations seemed to be truly interested in a collaborative effort and are willing to do what it takes to get the message out and get more people involved. In short, I was impressed, the call was very interesting and I will put up a digest of the conversation later this week. Today is Africa Malaria Day, please spread the word to your networks. Additionally, April 25th is the first ever US Malaria Awareness Day. Some basic facts about a treatable disease:

350,000,000 new cases/yr (think the entire US & UK population)
1-2 Million children dead annually
3000 African children die every day
$1 to treat children under five

Malaria No More
Engages individuals, organizations, and corporations in the private sector to provide life-saving bed nets and other critical interventions to families in need. Check out their involvement page.

Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV)
A nonprofit organization created to discover, develop and deliver new antimalarial drugs through effective public-private partnerships. MMV is managing over 30 projects (pipeline-PDF), the largest portfolio of antimalarial drugs in history. Four new artemisinin combination therapies could be approved for use within the next two years.

ExxonMobil-Africa Health Initiative
The ExxonMobil Foundation established the Africa Health Initiative in 2000 to fund and support activities related to the prevention, control and treatment of malaria in Africa. The Foundation has donated approximately $40 million to help fund programs at an individual community level, to promote the research and development of new drugs, and projects to advocate for awareness and support internationally.

President’s Malaria Initiative
In June 2005, President Bush launched PMI. He pledged to increase U.S. malaria funding to $1.2 billion over five years to reduce deaths due to malaria by 50% in 15 African countries. PMI is a collaborative effort led by USAID, in conjunction with the CDC, the Department of State, the White House, and others.The PMI goal will be achieved by reaching 85 percent of the most vulnerable groups with proven prevention and treatment measures. See also White House Summit on Malaria.

Here Sachs talks at the Norte Dame Forum on Malaria and tries a different approach to getting people involved. He argues that people in the US should care about malaria because one day it could impact everyone. I like his use of different tactics here, but it is also a bit on the scare tactic side.

Other sources:
Idol Gives Back – Ryan Seacrest advocating for bednets
Malaria Matters – Malaria Day Advocacy (fantastic blog btw)

Written by Aman

April 25, 2007 at 8:50 am

Over $250 Million for Global Health Education

The hype around a variety of global issues (microfinance, climate change, sustainability) continues to grow and based on the coverage this also seems to be true for global health. There must be something in the water this past year as there have been announcements by several universities about starting new global health divisions, departments or courses. Many schools of public health are leading the charge and are being backed up by real money in some cases. While there have been some universities that have had international health tracks, this set of developments is certainly a new phenomena that is widespread and not restricted to the typical large public health institutions (such as Hopkins). I hope that these schools are thinking outside of the typical public health box in how they develop their curricula, but that hope may be foolish on my part. Please find below a summary of recent news in this area, if I have missed any schools/programs I would be happy to add them. The amount of money and activity listed below is unprecedented for public/global health programs at the higher education level:

Real Money:
1) $110M for Emory Global Health, Jan 2007, & their $786M windfall, April 2007
2) $50M for UNC school of Global Public Health, Feb 2007
3) $30M for Duke Global Health, Sept 2006, Feb 2007
4) $30M with $100M more sought for UWashington Global Health, Sept 2006, Feb 2007
5) $4M for Oxford Global Health Sciences, April 2007

In addition to the above it looks like Harvard or Harvard affiliated clinicians will receive a total of $120M from Eli Lilly to tackle TB, read the story here. University of Washington wants to start a Health Metrics Institute and Emory will have an initial focus on vaccine and drug discovery, so there will be a large roll for measurement/evaluation and technology. There is a potential $324 million in funding for these new institutes, all announced mostly within the past 6 months. I did not have time to dig too much deeper into the list below, but you can see there is quite a bit of recent activity at many other schools:

Colorado State Micro Rx, “MicroRx, a first-of-its-kind enterprise to speed the transition of life-saving research on infectious diseases from the academic world into the global marketplace.”

Northwestern classes, “demand for global health education is up”

Cornell global health minor & “Global health is a major focus of Cornell’s $1.3 billion campaign”, story

U of Virginia public health/global health minor

UCSF, Debas’ Bold Vision for the Future of Global Health

DMU, new global health program

Before we get excited about all this movement, let’s not forget about things that plague many organizations: academic inertia, fiefdoms, turf wars, and major political battles. Some of these new initiatives may be revolutionary and some should be taken with a grain of salt. Without naming names, there are some universities with THREE or more, not one, but three centers for global health all at the same institution. These announcements, however, do indicate a very strong expanding interest in global health issues. In addition to this, a Feb 2007 commentary by Fitzhugh Mullan in the Journal of the American Medical Association calls for a sort of global health professional peace corps to tackle HIV/AIDS: “HIV/AIDS is “essentially the black death of the 21st century, killing on a massive scale and threatening to cripple economies and topple governments…the US should mobilize health workers ready to commit to working abroad in the long-term battle against HIV/AIDS.” It is a fascinating time for global health education, we will have to keep an eye on what happens with these investments.

Written by Aman

April 23, 2007 at 5:24 am

Oxford Said Business School Conference on Global Health

September 9-13 2007

The first Oxford Conference on Innovation and Technology Transfer for Global Health will address the challenge of Bridging the Gap in Global Health Innovation — From Needs to Access, examining emerging international systems of innovation and their implications for the management of technology transfer for global health. Attendance is by application only.

Written by Aman

April 22, 2007 at 7:55 pm

Global Health Video Outlets

There are a variety of video hosted websites covering various lectures at conferences or other venues I wanted to remind folks about. I am not sure any of these have taken off, but there are a fantastic way to catch up on interesting topics. The individual links are as follows: Scribe Media, KarmaTube, Fora TV, IET. IET is focused on technology but they have relevant videos, just do a search on “health” on their website. Considering the popularity of YouTube it would be cool if they had a section devoted to social causes/international health. If you know of any other worthy outlets please email us.


On a related note, Starfish is coming to DISH network soon. “The Starfish Television Network’s programming objective is to tell the stories of the nation’s philanthropic community in an entertaining and cost-effective fashion.” Other video or audio sites of interest are below:

BOP Videos at Michigan, link
Doctors without Borders podcasts, link
PRI’s The World: global health podcast, link
New England Journal of Medicine audio interviews, link
Columbia global health seminar series, link
University of North Carolina global health seminar series, link
2007 Univ of Wisconsin Global Health Symposium, link
University of Washington School of Public Health podcasts, link

Written by Aman

April 22, 2007 at 7:19 pm

Posted in Global Health, ICT, Media

Webcast of International Quality Conference

The International Forum on Quality and Safety in Health Care 2007 is going on now in Barcelona until April 20th. The aim of the conference is to improve health outcomes and quality of care for patients and communities. The Forum is jointly sponsored by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and the BMJ Publishing Group.

The topics covered range from Innovation to Reducing Medical Errors to Applying Quality Improvement methods to the Developing World.

Webcasts of key speeches include:

Wednesday 18 April
07:00 GMT/08:00 BST*
Donald M Berwick – Can health care ever be safe?

Thursday 19 April

07:30 GMT/08:30 BST* Richard Smith – What the quality movement can learn from other social movements

Friday 20 April
07:15 GMT/08:15 BST* Lucian Leape and Linda Kenney – When things go wrong: communicating about adverse events

11:30 GMT/12:30 BST* Carol Haraden and Allan Frankel – Building and assessing a culture of safety

13:30 GMT/14:30 BST* John Prooi and Harry Molendijk – Partnering for patient safety

The sessions will also be available to download free and on-demand after the event.

* Please note, it is now British Summer Time (BST). If you are viewing the webcast in the UK please refer to the BST time given. If you are viewing outside the UK you can find your local time on

Written by farzaneh

April 18, 2007 at 5:01 am

Vouchers for health: Conference finished on a high note

USAID-India, KfW, Packard Foundation, India Ministry of Health, and PSP-One put on a conference in Gurgaon outside of New Delhi this past week to discuss strategies and applications of “Vouchers for Health” [agenda PDF]. It is part of a larger ongoing dialog on the role of private sector players and demand-side financing to improve health care delivery in low-income countries.

Although I was there to present on the evaluation of the Uganda voucher project, it was a great opportunity to meet some very interesting people. Dr. Utpal Ray, for instance, is the chairman of Track 4Infotec a moderately large IT firm that supplies the data backend for 50+ insurance companies out of West Bengal. His system includes real-time data reporting from handheld, laptop and desktop platforms at partnered hospitals and clinics to track patient care and outcomes in electronic medical records (EMRs). His company currently has 1.3 million patient records with expectations for 3 million by 2009. Dr. Amarjit Singh was an impressive speaker from Gujarat, where under his leadership as Health Commissioner, access to maternal health services has been dramatically improving and not surprisingly the preliminary data suggest that maternal deaths are on the decline. His management style can best be described as pragmatic and driven. Among other steps, his government health office began coordinating services with private OB-GYNs with a series of adverts in local papers. Although simple, the step was profound by signaling government’s intent to engage with the existing private sector healthcare capacity.

Written by Ben

April 18, 2007 at 12:43 am

Blogger Invitation for Malaria Conference Call

I received this very interesting email today that must have gone out to dozens of bloggers (I am assuming). It is an invitation to bloggers to join in on a conference call on public-private ventures for fighting malaria. Of course I am biased and am glad to see them reaching out to various audiences and trying to leverage this technology. Now if the mainstream public health folks would learn to do the same or even learn what a blog is I would be happy. That’s not asking for too much is it? If any of you would like to join in let me know and I will see what I can do. Please spread the word about this:

I’m inviting you to participate in a blogger conference call on Monday, April 23 from 12 – 1 PM EST with Admiral Ziemer, coordinator of the President’s Malaria Initiative Coordinator; John Bridgeland, CEO of Malaria No More; Chris Hentschel, CEO of Medicines for Malaria Venture; and Steven Phillips, ExxonMobil’s Medical Director, Global Issues and Projects, to discuss public/private partnership efforts to fight malaria.

For the first time ever this year, the U.S. is officially recognizing Africa Malaria Day (April 25) with events and activities that bring attention to, mobilize action in, and raise money for the fight against malaria. Africa Malaria Day marks the anniversary of the signing of the 2000 Abuja Declaration, during which African heads of state committed to reducing malaria-related deaths by half by the end of this decade.

There are a variety of public and private entities who are currently working on combating malaria by working with advocates on the ground in Africa and by funding research, prevention and treatment efforts. We would like to use this call as an opportunity to share information about ways in which the private and public sectors are combating malaria, answer any questions you may have, and hear your feedback.

Written by Aman

April 17, 2007 at 9:08 pm

Gates Foundation billions change pharma landscape

I have about dozen blog posts that I am behind on due to traveling. My traveling will ease up in a couple weeks and hope to catch up then. There was an optimistic news release today about the impact of philanthropy on drug discovery for global health. Back in February at the IPEG DC meeting I tried my best to stress that while there are many changes in global health, one of the most significant changes is the technological capacity in emerging economies and specifically that the ecosystem for R&D is growing rapidly. I personally believe there will be some trickle down effect from this growth and while I don’t quite agree entirely with the assessment below, it is worth noting. What is also worth noting on the pessimistic side is that the growth of the elite and middle classes in places like China and India may lead to more severe patent battles. Hopefully I can give more details later, in the meantime check out this story:

“April 17, 2007 – The billions of dollars thrown at global health problems by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are changing the game in drug discovery, posing big challenges to the world’s top drugmakers, according to a report on Tuesday. Pharmaceutical information group IMS Health Inc. said the emergence of megabuck philanthropy was both a threat and a collaboration opportunity for manufacturers.” Full news story.

Written by Aman

April 17, 2007 at 9:01 pm

Jeffrey Sachs Gives Reith Lectures on the BBC

This year’s BBC Radio Reith Lectures are being given by Jeffrey Sachs, Director of The Earth Institute, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University.

These are a series of five lectures on a variety of topics given in London, Beijing and New York over a period of five weeks. Each lecture is presented broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and then archived as an MP3 available for seven days after the broadcast.

The schedule and topics are:

Lecture 1: Wednesday 11 April 2007, 9am
Bursting at the Seams

Lecture 2: Wednesday 18 April, 8pm
Survival in the Anthropocene

Lecture 3: Wednesday 25 April, 8pm
The Great Convergence

Lecture 4: Wednesday 2 May, 8pm
Poverty in the Midst of Plenty

Lecture 5: Wednesday 9 May, 8pm
A New Politics for a New Age

Written by Ben

April 14, 2007 at 11:22 pm

Posted in Global Health

Benefit for Measles Initiative – Boston

Joint Benefit Concert for the Measles Initiative
BU Law Auditorium
Friday, 13 April 2007, 7:30 pm

Tickets $8 at the door, or email:
Sponsored by Harvard, Tufts, BU, & MIT Red Cross Societies

For as little as US $1, one child can be vaccinated against measles. Although measles has been virtually eliminated in the West through effective vaccination, it still kills nearly 454,000 people globally per year. 90% of these deaths are children under five. Measles is one of the leading causes of death among children in most developing countries despite the availability of a safe, effective and relatively inexpensive vaccine for more than 40 years.  Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest burden of measles, and since 2001, efforts by the Measles Initiative have reduced estimated measles cases and deaths by 60%. The effort is now being expanded to Asia.

Children contract measles in overcrowded living conditions (especially refugee camps), at very young ages when their immune systems are not strong, and if they are malnourished. In the West, measles often presents as a mild rash, but in developing conditions, fatal complications can include pneumonia, diarrhea, or brain damage from measles encephalitis.

The Measles Initiative is led by the American Red Cross, with operational support to measles burdened countries. The Initiative follows the WHO/UNICEF strategy, which includes routine vaccination, vaccination campaigns, surveillance of the disease and treatment of sick children with vitamin A in all countries. The inclusion of vaccination campaigns was adopted as a result of the highly successful Rotary effort to eradicate polio, and has a profound impact on reducing measles cases and deaths as it allows health care workers to immunize children who do not have access to routine health services.

Impressively, the campaign has a very clear structure:

  1. PLANNING – Coordination among the core partners, in-country partners, and Red Cross national societies to determine target populations, resource needs, and logistics
  2. THE COLD CHAIN (supply) – The process of getting the vaccine and all needed supplies from a warehouse in the country to the hundreds of vaccination posts
  3. SOCIAL MOBILIZATION (create the demand) – The Red Cross role of spreading the word about the importance of immunization to each family with a child in the targeted age group
  4. FOLLOW-UP – Processing the results of the campaign to determine the successes based on coverage, weak points, and future plans

For more information: Measles Initiative

Written by farzaneh

April 13, 2007 at 8:36 am

Efficiency, Reach and the quest for better healthcare delivery

Electronic Medical Records are often discussed as a key technology to reduce health care costs and to improve information exchange throughout the health system. Yesterday’s Washington Post covered the VA’s move to digital medical records in the story entitled “VA Takes Lead in Paperless Care“. The article raises some interesting questions about the pros and cons of electronic medical records. Here are some excerpts from the article:

Did the electronic medical record save this 71-year-old man? It’s impossible to say.

But this much is clear: Never again will a VA patient’s chart be an excuse for things not happening efficiently. Never again will information that is lost, hard to read or impossible to move from one place to another be a factor in the complicated calculus of what makes good medical care — and, on occasion, saves lives.

The electronic medical record is the most important single development helping to usher in the Era of No Excuses in modern medicine. It is an age in which clinical decision-making, physician performance and patient outcomes are increasingly transparent; patient safety is mechanized; and the once-secret medical chart is sometimes open to contributions from the patients themselves.

Electronic medical records make confusing and physically unwieldy masses of data instantly available, portable and searchable — altogether more useful than when the information was stored on paper. Computer-accessible records have the potential to save the cost-strangled American medical system billions of dollars in waste, repetition and error. They may also prove to be essential tools of research, allowing scientists to examine patterns of medical practice, drug use, complication rates and health outcomes.

Written by Mahad Ibrahim

April 11, 2007 at 11:06 am

Posted in Global Health

Using Google technology to view Darfur crises

This is a grim use of Google technology, however for good reason. People can see second hand aerial views of the destruction that has taken place and hopefully use this information to mobilize people and resources. There was some previous ability to do this, but there was an official announcement yesterday that: “The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has joined with Google in an unprecedented online mapping initiative. Crisis in Darfur enables more than 200 million Google Earth users worldwide to visualize and better understand the genocide currently unfolding in Darfur, Sudan.”


Beyond the tremendous ability to view the destruction, it is significant that Google is involved because they are currently commanding constant global attention in the business world and one can only hope that Google’s attempts at having a social impact will influence the philosophy and perspective of others in the business community. I previously blogged about Google’s foray into BOP markets that you can check out. In the second picture I have borrowed part of a screen shot from Class V. To see the full screen shot check out their posting.



Google Earth maps atrocities in Darfur
Search engine Google and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum launched an online mapping project on Tuesday to provide what the museum said was evidence of atrocities committed in Sudan’s western Darfur region. More than 200,000 people have been killed in Darfur since 2003 and some of this carnage has been detailed by Google Earth, the search engine’s mapping service (

Using high-resolution imagery, users can zoom into Darfur to view more than 1,600 damaged or destroyed villages, providing what the Holocaust Museum says is evidence of the genocide.

“When it comes to responding to genocide, the world’s record is terrible. We hope this important initiative with Google will make it that much harder for the world to ignore those who need us the most,” said Holocaust Museum director Sara Bloomfield in a statement.

“Crisis in Darfur” is the first of the museum’s “Genocide Prevention Mapping Initiative” that is aimed at providing information on potential genocides early on in the hope that governments and others can act quickly to prevent them.

“At Google, we believe technology can be a catalyst for education and action,” Elliot Schrage, Google’s vice president, said in a statement.
Blogs on Darfur: Sudan, Daily Darfur
Blog on GoogleEarth: Ogle

Written by Aman

April 11, 2007 at 5:02 am

Engineering Change: THD Blogger on CNET!

cnet.jpgWe are very proud of our fellow THD Blogger – Jaspal, who is profiled on CNET today. For those unaware, CNET is a major technology news outlet. This is the first installment in a 3 part series on international development. If you want to read details about Jaspal’s project and his background, please do read the CNET story. Excerpts only:

Of PDAs and maternal medicine in Mongolia
Jaspal Sandhu isn’t in Mongolia for its vast, windswept scenery or historic monasteries. The 30-year-old engineer has technology on the brain–specifically, the 50 personal digital assistants Mongolia’s government hopes will help puncture the country’s inflated maternal death rate. Although maternal deaths occur throughout the country, which is nearly the size of Alaska, the nomadic herders who make up one-third of Mongolia’s population are difficult for health workers to reach and care for.

Sandhu’s self-appointed task is to discover firsthand exactly what the PDAs can–or can’t–accomplish. “We don’t know if they will help,” he said. “We need to understand how to integrate the technology into local systems to figure out if they make sense in the first place.”

In Mongolia, Sandhu is drawing on the so-called human-centered design approach of Agogino’s Berkeley lab, a bottom-up philosophy that begins the design process in communities, not in concrete rooms. “We discover their needs and then match those needs to the best solution,” Agogino explained.

Why Mongolian mothers are dying:
The same Mongolian landscape that awes Sandhu endangers its inhabitants, and the low-tech lifestyle of Mongolian herders presents thorny health challenges for pregnant women in need of frequent, specialized care. Sandhu believes the right resources can greatly reduce the death rate, but are PDAs the key? He’s trying to find out, and he’s not entirely sold on using handheld devices to track vulnerable patients…

Of course, the contributions to the world’s poor by people like Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, who made his fortune in tech and intends to give a sizeable portion of that money away, may well be incalculable. But it’s young engineers like Sandhu, Hassounah and Rebeca Hwang, profiled in the second installment of this series, who are putting that money to work while overcoming difficult conditions and language and cultural barriers. They’re the feet on the street, bringing technology moguls’ lofty philanthropic ambitions to people who may never have heard of those tech billionaires.

Written by Aman

April 10, 2007 at 5:19 am

Posted in Global Health

Rethinking International Health

FYI, Rethinking International Health — a fine online teaching-learning aid.
For a very nice example of a low cost, high value open-access introduction to the importance and complexities of international health check out

“Rethinking International Health” (RIH) was developed by students, faculty and staff at Stanford and includes interviews with 13 international health leaders (five are open access and the others will be soon) along with supplementary readings and resources. Course features include: Video interview, broken down into segments by question; Biography of interviewee; Links to related resources including primary and secondary literature, websites, video clips, images and more. For more information:

Written by Ben

April 10, 2007 at 3:10 am

Start a New Easter Tradition

I saw these e-cards over on the “Water is” blog, it seems like a good opportunity to give a little back and raise awareness. You can view all the e-cards on the Charity website. Scott Harrison, Charity founder, decided to “bail out” of his fast paced NYC lifestyle and dedicate one year to a humanitarian mission. He started Charity which is focused on water issues for its first project. By the numbers-

  • In 5 months they have raised $550,000
  • Responsible for 71 new and rehabilitated wells
  • Those wells supply water to 100,000+ people

Scott on his motivation – “The dictionary defines charity as simply the act of voluntarily giving to those in need. The word comes from the Latin ‘caritas,’ or simply, loveIn service really comes freedom…the more I was concerned about myself and how much money I could make, the unhappier I became…”


    Current TV featured Charity and in the video it is clear Scott Harrison has an authentic desire and was clearly moved by what he saw. Check it out the video shown on Current TV.

    Written by Aman

    April 8, 2007 at 7:06 pm

    Posted in Non Profit, Water

    Atlas Corps Accepting Fellow Applications

    Last week we covered a newish non-profit that is working in workforce development. I corresponded with the USA Country Director of Atlas Corps and asked if they had any new news. She replied: Our biggest news right now is that we are trying to spread the word about the Fellowship before our April 16 application deadline. We’re looking for mid-career rising citizen sector leaders from India and Colombia… Please spread the following information to your networks:

    Atlas Service Corps, Inc. (“Atlas Corps“) is a new international citizen sector (nonprofit or NGO) organization that will revolutionize international service and build a global partnership for development. Atlas Corps is currently seeking the best rising leaders in the citizen sectors of India and Colombia to apply for a one-year fellowship in the United States. All candidates must have 4-8 years of experience in the citizen sector, a bachelor’s degree, be fluent in written and spoken English, and be committed to returning to their home country at the end of the program. Candidates must be nominated by a citizen sector leader before their application can be submitted. Nominations can be submitted online.

    Atlas Corps is seeking 7 outstanding citizen sector leaders for our inaugural 2007 Fellowship program. More details about the U.S. Host organizations and Fellow job descriptions can be found at:

    About Atlas Corps:
    Our mission is to create a global partnership for development through an innovative, sustainable and scalable Fellowship program that demonstrates that the global south should not just be a destination for support, but a partner in tackling the world’s most pressing social issues. While in the U.S. Fellows will learn best practices from the United States, share unique perspectives from abroad, and then return home to create avenues of cooperation and continued learning. We invite you to visit our website to learn more about the program and read about our fantastic staff and Senior Advisory Board that includes such notables as Bill Drayton, the founder of Ashoka, and Senator Harris Wofford, one of the founding leaders of the Peace Corps.

    Written by Aman

    April 8, 2007 at 7:04 pm

    Posted in Global Health

    Globorix – new low-cost meningococcal vaccine

    The new combination vaccine candidate Globorix(TM) promises to help control pediatric meningitis in the “meningitis belt” of Africa. Meningitis control has historically depended on expensive last-minute outbreak immunizations, and in 2000, WHO and public health experts called for a sustainable strategy where meningitis vaccine could be administered in general immunization campaigns. Until today no combined conjugate meningococcal vaccine has been available to protect infants in Africa against the disease.

    Globorix (TM) is a conjugate vaccine developed by Glaxo-Smith Kline that provides immunity against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type b, Neisseria meningitides serogroups A and C. In clinical trials including countries in Africa and Asia, the conjugate meningococcal vaccine has demonstrated a good safety profile and immunogenicity against meningococcal meningitis caused by Neisseria meningitidis serogroups A and C in addition to five other major childhood diseases.

    The current meningitis control strategy relies on reactive mass immunization campaigns using polysaccharide vaccines. While these campaigns are estimated to have saved 70% of lives in epidemics, this older type of vaccine has significant drawbacks. Polysaccharide vaccines do not offer protection to infants and in older children and adults they only protect for 3-5 years, leaving them vulnerable to future epidemics. Polysaccharide vaccines also do not address endemic meningitis

    Read the full press release here

    BBC News Report

    Written by farzaneh

    April 7, 2007 at 4:36 am

    Giving Credit: Black Heritage in Technology

    The issues surrounding the demographics of: the public health workforce, students in schools of public health, decision makers and policy analysts receives such little attention or fruitful discussion that I thought it was worth noting this related upcoming talk by James E. West, PhD. Dr. West is a research faculty member of Johns Hopkins University and co-inventor of the microphone (back in 1962).

    Dr. West will be delivering a talk next week on his research and separately on Black heritage in technology (link). As he will discuss – “Blacks and other non-whites have received much less recognition than they merit for inventions that have improved the quality of life for all people.” His microphone invention is now used in “most telephones, cell phones, tape recorders, acoustic equipment, toys and in all hearing aids”. I encourage you to check out the following piece on him in Johns Hopkins Magazine.

    Written by Aman

    April 2, 2007 at 10:07 pm

    Posted in Global Health

    Raging Grannies Protest

    grannyguitar.gifEver heard of the Ranging Grannies group? Me either. I couldn’t pass this story up -the Raging Grannies are a multi-city group of social activist women who use music and song to get across their message. Most recently they were protesting the lack of affordable drugs sent overseas as promised by Canadian legislation 3 years ago: “About two dozen McGill University students – backed by six members of the Raging Grannies protest group – staged a lively demonstration yesterday in Phillips Square as part of a campaign to get affordable medicines from Canada to people in developing nations who need them. The combination of songs and street theatre was intended to help unblock a pipeline for the export of generic Canadian drugs to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis in Africa and elsewhere. Bureaucracy has immobilized Canada’s Access to Medicines Regime. The legislation was enacted in May 2004 but since then, not a single pill has left the country.” Full story with pictures here.

    Written by Aman

    April 2, 2007 at 9:31 pm

    Posted in Global Health

    Atlas Corps, Bringing Volunteers to the US

    I just learned about this newish non-profit that aims to bring volunteers to the US from the “Global South” for a one year exchange fellowship. When I did a blog search on them (Technorati and Google) there were less than 5 hits, so I decided to quickly mention of the organization because I am guessing some folks have not heard of them. Among the many notables on the advisory board is Senator Harris Wofford, Co-founder of Peace Corps. It looks like an interesting organization with a new spin on things. You can read more about them on the Atlas Service Corps website:

    “The Atlas Service Corps (Atlas Corps) is a new citizen sector business model that will revolutionize international service and build a global partnership for development. Atlas Corps brings rising citizen sector leaders from developing countries to volunteer at U.S. Organizations for a one year fellowship. By reversing the flow of volunteers, Atlas Corps challenges the status quo, turning all previous international volunteerism models (like the Peace Corps) on their head.”

    On their logo: For the Atlas Service Corps we chose a logo that was an upside picture of the world. For centuries everyone has accepted that north is on the top of the map while south is on the bottom. However, there is no astrological reason for this — in space there is no difference between up and down. Therefore our logo is an upside down world, representing how we are turning international exchanges up-side-down — no longer will volunteers go from the global north down to the global south, but from the global south “down” to the global north!

    Written by Aman

    April 2, 2007 at 8:22 pm

    Posted in Global Health

    What Is The Future Of Venture Models?

    SSIR has loaded audio for a recent panel, click below to read/hear more:


    Written by Aman

    April 2, 2007 at 8:06 pm

    Posted in Global Health

    Transforming Global Health Recap

    Jose @ Little Devices that Could has three great posts with more detail on the Boston talk a couple of weeks ago:

    1) Boston University’s Global Health Initiative, Link

    2) Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development, Link

    3) Medicine in Need and Acumen Fund Health Portfolio, Link

    Written by Aman

    April 2, 2007 at 7:50 pm

    Posted in Conferences