Global Health Ideas

Finding global health solutions through innovation and technology

Archive for December 2007

Innovation for Global Health Course

Jose from Little Devices That Could (LTDC) is going to be helping out with a fantastic looking course being offered by Harvard-MIT. The post below, with permission, is from LTDC. The course has some very bright minds involved. Could you imagine a collaborative course like this on every campus? I would bet there would be some great results. If you have any input or project ideas, send Jose an email (see his website below). 

UPDATE: This course will be available via:
1. opencourseware
2. telecast (with hope of reaching overseas univs also)
3. open access to materials
4. potential roll out in other schools in 2009

From Little Devices that Could:
LTDC Goes to Graduate School: Harvard-MIT announce HST 939,  Designing and Sustaining Technology Innovation for Global Health
Following a long history at MIT of incredible classes like D-Lab, Developmental Entrepreneurship and S-Lab from Sloan School of Management,the joint program in Health and Technology by Harvard and MIT have announced HST 939:Designing and Sustaining Technology Innovation for Global Health.

The class will focus on exploring new ways and avenues of answering global health’s most vexing problems at the intersection of business, public health, and disruptive technologies. Hands on participation in real life projects with international community and corporate partners will allow students to experience global health development 2.0 from the start.

The class is the brainchild of HST affiliate Jeff Blander, a social entrepreneur and global health expert, who teamed up with Utkan Demirci, a scientist and inventor at Harvard with a shared focus on global health technologies. They’ve asked Yours Truly to participate in the design and instruction of the technology and bottom-up innovation aspects of the class, and I’ve heartedly agreed.

If my posts have been infrequent lately, I apologize, but the there has been a lot of work to set up some exciting projects which I will be sharing with you shortly. We are continuing to receive a lot of interest from corporate and foundation sponsors about their own projects and the door is open for continuing collaboration. One of the most exciting aspects of the course is its commitment to cross-institutional collaboration. The current partners include companies, NGOs, and other academic institutions beyond Harvard and MIT. So get ready, in a few months, we’ll be highlighting the next little devices that could—and the business report cards that go along with them! Everything starts in Spring 2008, but you can submit your projects now!

From Little Devices that Could

Written by Aman

December 6, 2007 at 8:59 am

Update on Uganda Ebola

The Uganda Ministry of Health has its work cut out this month. From the front page of the December 5th Daily Monitor:

AS the country grapples with the deadly Ebola outbreak in western Uganda, medics are struggling to contain a rising spate of meningitis and bubonic plague in West Nile [district], cholera in Hoima and Buliisa [districts], and yellow fever in the northern district of Kitgum.

Depending on the source, 19 to 21 deaths, including two doctors, have been attributed to the latest Ebola outbreak. No news yet on results from the two suspected cases in Mbarara and not much new found on HealthMap. Otherwise, life continues as normal here. At the University chapel across the road from our place, there’s a wedding on the lawn. Great weather for a wedding today. The academic term ends this week. Mbarara University students are in exams.

Written by Ben

December 5, 2007 at 4:15 am

Ebola’s back in Uganda

View Larger Google Map of region

Last Friday the Ugandan dailies the New Vision and Monitor both reported 16 deaths and 51 cases of Ebola in the western Uganda district of Bundibugyo bordering Congo. The mountainous area is also experiencing an influx of Congolese refugees from recent fighting in the eastern states of Congo. As of Monday morning there are 18 confirmed deaths and 58 cases.

Over the weekend, the Sunday Vision updated the story suggesting that the outbreak may have originated from social contacts during a goat roast in August. The Sunday Vision published a Reuters story reporting that CDC tests concluded the outbreak is due to a previously unknown strain which appears to have a lower case fatality rate.

This is only the second confirmed outbreak of Ebola in Uganda. The first killed more than 200 between August 2000 and January 2001 in the north of the country. According to doctors at the hospital in the town where we live, there were several local cases then when an infected soldier returned home to Mbarara town. The hospital here has an isolation unit from that time, I’m told.

It’s an interesting opportunity to see when web-based early reporting sites first noticed the outbreak. HealthMap picked up stories from November 29th forward. HealthMap sources include Google News and other less visible sites such as ProMED Mail at the International Society for Infectious Diseases. A Technorati search turned up blogposts reporting after the reports hit the news wire. No site that I’ve found has anything prior to November 14th (The Monitor, Uganda) which if offline reports of early cases in September are true, would indicate a great deal of needed improvement in early online detection. In comparison, the three Marburg cases from Kamwenge district in early August were quickly reported and quarantined.

Written by Ben

December 3, 2007 at 3:04 am