Access to medicines and health supplies is particularly challenging in the developing world. In rural areas, clinics and pharmacies often have to deal with expired medicines, unreliable electricity, and lack of basic supplies and equipment. Now one student from Chicago has developed a dependable inventory system to address the supply problem.
Over 800 million people worldwide don’t have access to clean water, and that number is projected to reach at least 1.8 billion over the next decade. This problem struck a chord with Austrian well-maker turned entrepreneur Dietmar Stuck. His patented solar water pump technology aims to address this problem.
Childbirth is still a significant danger for women living in the Global South, and is currently the leading cause of death for women of childbearing age. The Maternova Obstetric Kit is specifically designed for midwives and frontline health workers with a focus on postpartum hemorrhaging.
Shipping containers provide more uses than holding supplies. The practice of “cargotecture” has taken off in recent years, and refurbishes old shipping containers by turning them into sustainable housing options. An organization that formed in 2002, called Clinic in a Can, is transforming shipping containers and utilizing them in a new way: to provide medical attention to those living in remote and rural areas, far away from hospitals or clinics.
Indian start-up Science for Society has developed a solar conduction dryer that aims to reduce costs associated with food-processing. While conventional dryers rely on electricity to dehydrate various crops and marine products, this innovation operates sans electricity, thereby increasing efficiency and reducing costs for farmers. The innovation is aimed at increasing incomes for small-hold farmers in India and, ultimately, across the global South.
Over 1.4 billion people – nearly 20% of the world’s population – are without access to electricity, while an additional 1 billion have access only to unreliable, intermittent electricity networks. The non-profit WE CARE Solar has created a portable off-grid solar electric system, the Solar Suitcase, which is providing dependable electricity to clinics, schools and emergency medical centres to help change this reality.
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.
Biomedical engineers at Columbia University, led by Dr. Samuel K. Sia, have developed an innovative accessory that can be attached to smartphones for rapid HIV and syphilis testing. This device, called a dongle, can detect and diagnose these two sexually-transmitted diseases in only 15 minutes.
Every year, 20 million babies are born prematurely, and each hour 450 die from mostly avoidable causes. Most pre-term babies are born with low-birth weights that are unsuited to regulating body temperature and thus their ability to survive depends on medical intervention. India has the highest infant mortality rate for pre-term babies in the world. Many births occur at home, or in rural health centers that don’t have facilities to care for premature infants. Even state-run hospitals might not be able to afford the life-saving equipment, which can cost up to $20,000.