The Latest from our Blog

February 13, 2012

As a small departure from our usual blog, we thought it would add some insight about the kinds of barriers that small global health startups face. These are the mundane, day to day issues that can actually make or break you in the end. While we try to be relentlessly positive about the exciting new technologies coming down the pike, sometimes one has to be just brutally honest about obstacles faced.

1. International shipping

Oh, let us count the ways that international shipping can sneak in and foil best laid plans--wet packages left out in the rain in Bali? check (zip loc is your friend) hemoglobinometers stuck in customs and then returned from the Ukraine? check. Bribes and fees? Our partners face them all the time.

Lillian Njuu says she’s willing to pay for a clean cookstove because of the heal
February 01, 2012

Lillian Njuu, pictured here, says she’s willing to pay for a clean cookstove because of the health benefits for her family

Do you know the leading cause of death in children worldwide? It kills an estimated 1.4 million children under 5 each year—more than malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS combined. Many will be surprised to learn that the answer is pneumonia, an acute lung infection that can be treated with antibiotics and prevented with immunization, adequate nutrition and simple environmental interventions.

"clean birth kit", Masaai, hemoglobin colour scale, solar maternal health
January 27, 2012

This is truly the 'last mile' as they call it. Here is a note from a recent trip to Northern Tanzania:

"Our (a M. D. and myself) work in Northern Tanzania was difficult but fulfilling. We were providing services in a Maasai area that people have to walk more than 10 miles to get medical services. Even in a car it takes 45 minutes because the roads are so bad. The government has set up a clinic out in this area, but besides building the building, they don’t really keep it stocked or staffed. Most people don’t even go because they can’t do anything. We had people walking over ten miles from up in the hills to come to our temporary clinic.

forceps, MCHIP, Odon device, saving lives at birth, USAID, vacuum ext
January 19, 2012

The following post is cross- posted with permission from the Healthy Newborn Network's Technology and Innovation for Maternal and Newborn Health. It was originally posted on USAID's IMPACT blog.

It all started with friendly bet amongst friends – who could get a cork out of an empty wine bottle with only a plastic bag? The friends had seen the trick on YouTube earlier and wanted to re-enact it.

Somehow, Saving Lives at Birth finalist Jorge Odon, an Argentinian car mechanic with no medical background, drew a connection between the trick and obstructed labor, which is a major contributor to maternal mortality. The idea came to him in the dead of the night. Inspired, he woke up his wife to share his idea.

"pinard horn", fetascope, fetosope, fetal heart monitoring, Africa,
January 17, 2012

Fetal heart rate is an important indicator of fetal health. For this reason, significant resources have been employed adapting ultrasound machines for use in low-resource settings. However, for over a century doctors and midwives have successfully monitored fetal heart rate using a more basic method—a type of stethoscope known as the pinard horn.

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