BALAKA, Malawi — Ishmael Katanga’s clinic is a small, two-room mud hut in southern Malawi that serves approximately 3,000 local residents. He sees roughly 15-20 patients per day, usually children under 5 years old suffering from malnutrition, malaria, dehydration and diarrhea. In treating these preventable diseases, one of Katanga’s biggest setbacks is access to medication and supplies.
Often, he has to turn patients away or encourage them to come back at a later time to receive their necessary medication. This scenario is common in rural clinics, where supplies and medications are scarce, causing what is known as a “stock out.”
Health Surveillance Assistants (HSAs) receive training on the cStock system.
That’s why the Malawi Ministry of Health (MOH), in partnership with public health research organizations such as John Snow, Inc. (JSI), has developed a mobile health program called cStock. It’s part of a larger project with the goal of finding affordable, simple and sustainable supply chain solutions that address the unique challenges of community health workers.
(From PBS NewsHour)
What if syringes were so easy to use that even untrained health workers could give injections without the risk of error?
What if vaccines for developing countries could be prepackaged in low-cost prefilled syringes, vastly reducing the amount of vaccine wasted?
What if syringes could not be reused—and we knew for certain that gateway to HIV transmission was closed?
The Uniject™ autodisable injection system (Uniject), born in PATH’s Seattle shop, is little more than a small bubble of plastic attached to a needle, but it answers all these needs. It is so simple that health workers can learn to use it after less than two hours of training. It cannot be reused, which eliminates one route of disease transmission. And it is precisely prefilled by the pharmaceutical producers with a single dose, which ensures that the correct amount of drug is delivered and that none is discarded unnecessarily.
PATH developed Uniject with funding from the US Agency for International Development and then licensed the system to BD, the largest syringe manufacturer in the world. As part of the licensing agreement, BD supplies the Uniject system to pharmaceutical producers at preferential prices for use in developing-country programs. Developing Uniject and bringing it to market has been a 20-year endeavor.
Originally developed for use with vaccines, Uniject now promises to extend the reach of other lifesaving drugs as well as contraception.
Uniject is a trademark of BD.
“Since September, more than 40,000 medicine kits designed to slip between Coke bottles stacked in a case have made the journey deep into the Zambian countryside. Called Kit Yamoyo, the packets were designed by London branding agency pi global for the U.K.-based health charity called ColaLife to fight one of sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest child killers, diarrhea. The kits, priced at the equivalent of $1, carry vital antidiarrheal medicine—a blister pack of zinc pills, oral rehydration salts—in a container that doubles as a mixing vessel. (The kit also carries a thin bar of soap.)”
Eric Topol, author of The Creative Destruction of Medicine, on The Colbert Report last night.
Last summer Bill Gates and his foundation held a competition to reinvent the toilet. Now he’s hoping to do the same for condoms.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is putting up$100,000 to the best proposal for a more fun and pleasurable condom.
The competition is part of its Grand Exploration Challenges, which has already doled out nearly $50 million for quirky but effective solutions to global health problems, like microwaves to treat malaria and an electronic nose to detect tuberculosis.
But why do condoms need revamping? The Gates Foundation, which supports NPR, says that a lot of men perceive them as interfering with the pleasure of sex, and that means they won’t use them consistently.
So the foundation is calling for new shapes, materials and packaging that “significantly preserve or enhance pleasure, in order to improve uptake and regular use.”
To get a sense of what kinds of ideas they’re keen on, have a look at the post he and a colleague recently wrote on The Impatient Optimists blog.
First, there are the ORIGAMI Condoms. Shaped like miniature accordions, these silicone rubbers fit loosely and aim to simulate the feeling of sex without a condom. They also boast a 2.8 seconds “application time,” the company’s website says, which presumably means they go on easily.
There is also something in the works for the ladies.
Photo by ederk /iStockphoto.com
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a free app for the iPad called “Solve the Outbreak.”
The app allows users to become an Epidemic Intelligence Service agent and examine a range of variables, based on factual information, in a burgeoning disease outbreak and make decisions much as a CDC decision-maker would. Should you quarantine the city? Interview people who are sick? Request more results from the lab?
According to the CDC, the app comes with three outbreak scenarios, with more coming soon. Users can post their scores on Twitter and Facebook and challenge friends to do a better job at stemming the epidemic and saving more lives.
The agency says it is using social media to educate the public about diseases and to promote an appreciation for public health work.
You can download the free app from iTunes.
Dr. Eric Topol, author of “The Creative Destruction of Medicine” is quoted in Forbes as saying.. “I believe the portable high-resolution ultrasound (Vscan or Mobisante) represents a home run to replace the stethoscope for heart, abdominal and fetal examinations. We validated the Vscan compared with the standard hospital lab echocardiogram (Annals Internal Medicine, 2011). To have such high quality imaging done anywhere “flattens the earth” –not just all over the planet, but from a paramedic in the field or an emergency room doctor—to simply acquire the image and transmit the video loop to a radiologist or cardiologist expert with a rapid read and text back.”
GE, the manufacturer, provides this video … “Vscan, as an adjunct to the physical examination, provides visualization in addition to palpation, auscultation, and inspection. Vscan is cleared for a quick look at the heart, kidney, liver, aorta, gall bladder, urinary bladder, and fetal positions. Vscan’s black-and-white anatomical images and color-coded blood flow images help identify what is happening inside the body.”
At the Sanitation Hackathon (Dec 1-2 2012), civic technologists developed projects that address challenges facing the sanitation sector. Register now for next phase of the process: the Sanitation App Challenge.
In December 2012, civic technologists teamed up with subject matter experts in an intensive marathon to find innovative solutions to challenges facing the sanitation sector. The event, born of a global partnership among The World Bank, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Random Hacks of Kindness, Eirene, Nokia, Open Cities, and Civic Commons, among others, took place simultaneously in several cities around the world December 1-2.
Linking problems with solutions
The Sanitation Hackathon challenged programmers to develop innovative software solutions that addressed real-world problems in sanitation. During the months leading up to the event, subject matter experts and members of the public created, submitted and voted on problem definitions that highlight specific sanitation challenges that could be mitigated by innovative ICTs. Then, during a weekend-long marathon event, teams of programmers in cities around the world developed innovative solutions to these problem definitions. Learn more about the event »
The Sanitation Hackathon emerges out of the recognition that the rapid increase of penetration, awareness and literacy in information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the developing world can transform water and sanitation management. Mobile phones, the Internet and open data are creating new entry points to make sanitation services more transparent, inclusive and participatory while forging new connections between the government, its citizens and the private sector.
We’re just getting started.
“Blue Button” is a way for you to get easy, secure online access to your health information. To “Blue Button” means you can “download your health data” so you can use it to improve your health and be more engaged in your healthcare. As Americans, we each have the legal right to access our own health information held by doctors, hospitals and others that provide health care services for us. But many of us don’t, either because we don’t know we can, or because we’re not sure what to do with our health information once we have it. Until recently, most medical information was stored in paper files, so it wasn’t very easy to access or use anyhow. But all that is changing as more health care providers (doctors and hospitals) adopt electronic health record systems and other health information technology (health IT). Patients will have more opportunities to get access to their health records electronically and to engage with their clinical teams about their medical records.
What is mHealth? Find out.