The Do it Yourself (DIY) movement can sometimes, just sometimes, seem like it exists for the sake of itself. You know, just to prove you can do-it-yourself (build a radio, build a canoe, make an electrical circuit). But Advance Aid defies that stereotype. And we think it is a fantastic solution.
“DIY” is music to crafters’ and global health workers’ ears alike. Here, a handful of clever innovators have developed a series of simple tools designed to improve humanitarian conditions around the globe, with minimal training and expense.
These clever devices created in the field, for the field, improve access to clean water, diagnostic technology, renewable energy, communications, and of course, health care. Among them is a DIY AID-supply project designed to make Africa self-sufficient in generating and distributing its own emergency relief supplies.
Google and Grameen Use Existing and Emerging Mobile Communications Infrastructure to Increase Access to Healthcare
One of the most insidious conflicts in international health is the tension between providing realistic solutions based on available resources (sometimes called 'appropriate technologies') and the sentiment expressed to Paul Farmer by a Haitian priest: “Do you know what “appropriate technology” means? It means good things for rich people and shit for the poor” (Infections and Inequalities, 21). There is a constant struggle between developing scalable technologies that will effectively improve health in low-income countries and falling into the trap of developing second-rate solutions for the world’s poor.
The availability of skilled professionals is key to maternal and neonatal health. At Maternova, we are interested in mapping the current locations of skilled birth attendants--but just as interested in highlighting the precise areas where access is most inadequate. A new study documents health workers shortages country by country in Africa and I briefly cover it here.