3D printing helps boost WASH components of humanitarian responses

3D printing (also called additive manufacturing) has been around for a number of years, but is only recently being utilized for new, innovative projects. From small trinkets to icing on cookies, all the way to construction materials and artificial limbs for amputees, 3D printing can be used in a number of different settings to create unique objects. Because of this success, 3D printing is now being seen as a useful addition to humanitarian responses. It has burst onto the humanitarian scene, helping people in a number of new, innovative ways.

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Better Access to Vaccines with the New Microneedle Patch

Each year, millions of people in the developing world are killed by vaccine-preventable diseases. Vaccines are administered through injection, meaning a trained professional is required. Vaccines also require a sterile environment and constant refrigeration to remain viable. These requirements are difficult and costly to meet in developing countries. However, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology are developing a microneedle patch that can quickly and easily administer vaccines that save lives.

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Invest in the Future: Defeat Malaria

Can there be a world without malaria? It will require an expansion of current strategies and innovative solutions, such as the Rapid Assessment of Malaria device, which uses refrigerator strength magnets and a laser point to diagnose malaria, and Malaria Consortium’s use of mobile technology and village health groups to support community health care.

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The Collective Voice of Health Reform

Transparency is integral to a functioning health care system. However, 73% of the Egyptian population qualify their medical and health services as corrupt. Ayman Sabae, with the support of a seed grant from the 16th International Anti-Corruption Conference’s (IACC) Social Entrepreneurs Initiative, is developing a community-monitoring tool to hold health service providers in the public and private sectors accountable.

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Using ‘Tower-Power’ to Chill Vaccines

Harvey Rubin and his team at the University of Pennsylvania have developed a project called Energize the Chain, which uses the excess energy from power grids at cellphone towers to run refrigerators that keep vaccines cold in rural areas. Remote communities often lack the energy infrastructure to preserve the cold-chain, upon which so many vaccines depend. Cell towers house a 24-hour supply of energy, the excess of which is currently going to waste.

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