Global Health Ideas

Finding global health solutions through innovation and technology

Archive for December 2008

IOM to Obama: Get a Mapping Tool 4 Global Health

The prestigious Institute of Medicine (IOM) came out with their policy proposals for global health. I ripped this off from the Science blog site, they put it well:
Funding has been “heavily skewed” toward HIV/AIDS, the committee stressed…The Obama Administration and Congress should “create balance in the traditional portfolio of global health aid…”

In one of its most blistering passages, the committee complained that the government doesn’t have a good handle on who is doing what. “To date, the committee is not aware of any efforts to broadly coordinate and quantify U.S. actions in global health across even the major government agencies… The tools available to track U.S. government global health funding are limited, and their results are often piecemeal, subject to double counting. As a result, the total U.S. government commitment to global health is not known with any certainty; the United States can neither measure the positive impacts nor justify the level of its investments in global health.” To better coordinate the U.S. government’s global health effort, the report recommends that Obama create a White House-level interagency committee, chaired by a senior White House official, “to lead, plan, prioritize, and coordinate…” via the Science blog.
There are a ton of issues here. One that came straight to my mind, probably as a result of my own cognitive bias (see my previous post) is that Obama needs a donation like mapping tool (only half joking)! What I mean by this is that perhaps he needs to borrow technology available from a variety of sources like the PQMD donation mapping tool or ZocDoc to map, track and coordinate. Again this might be another example of the global health community being behind the curve with regards to tech adoption…

Written by Aman

December 18, 2008 at 6:01 am

Donation Mapping Tool

The Partnership for Quality Medical Donations (PQMD) Mapping Tool, provides unprecedented access to information about the medical product donations being made…to the world’s most vulnerable populations. [Anyone] can easily determine where PQMD member donations are sent, find information on how the donations are being used by the communities who receive them and access a library of medical donation resources…” Source: Google Map Technology Enhances First Global Medical Donations Map


I was alerted to the newly launched donation mapping tool by Jessica over at GHP (Global Health Progress). Thanks to her I got to sit in on a presentation of the tool which I found fascinating (but not sure anyone else did based on the lack of questions in the audience). The tool is a mashup of Google maps and donation metrics globally (location, type of donation, organizations involved, what type of supplies, volume, staffing on the ground to name some). The goal is to help collaboration, answer questions and facilitate the process of identifying who is working where and what are they doing? Second they wanted to bring to life the impact of donations (places, faces and outcomes). Other things I took away from the presentation:

  • Massive unmet need for medical supplies. Poor infrastructure & distribution are key challenges
  • Donations are meeting up to 40% of health needs in some areas
  • PQMD has 27 members total (non cash EX US dollar volume was $4 Billion dollars, including non PQMD members)
  • Private sector + NGO + Academia combo mix: The tool was incubated at Loma Linda School of Public health and is a joint effort with PQMD and industry.

They have put a lot of work into this and I think they have lots of neat information. The data comes from primary and secondary data sources. For example they use actual donor member shipping records and augment that with onsite data collection, interviews and site visits on ground with facility staff (location, staffing, needs). The public view is different from the private view so as not to compromise security of the facilities. There is a lot more I could write about this, but I’ll stop here and let you play around with the tool yourself:

A few other things to note – the PQMD site has various interesting resources. Here are some more notes, and things to check out:

Have comments about the tool, leave them here:

Vote! USAID Development 2.0 Challenge

USAID has sponsored the Development 2.0 Challenge at NetSquared with voting open through Friday. The competition has a great line-up of projects submitted by individuals and NGOs with a wide range of information technology applications in health and other areas.

Word cloud for Dev 2.0 Challenge

Several Berkeley doctoral students wrote a tech proposal for contracted clinics in western Uganda. As mentioned in previous THDblog posts (Jan ’08, June ’07, Mar ’07) there is an output-based aid (OBA) health project in western Uganda that has treated more than 25,000 STI patients since 2006. Under contract, clinics see voucher-bearing patients and are reimbursed after patients are treated and the claims processed. In an extension of a mobile phone application first described in 2007, Melissa Ho has implemented a pilot mobile platform and web database for claims processing at selected contracted clinics and entered the concept – called “ClaimsMobile” – in the Development 2.0 competition. Be sure to check out the range of great projects before Friday 5pm California time and vote for your top 3.

Written by Ben

December 11, 2008 at 2:27 am

Posted in Global Health