While life is measurably improving for many in the developing world, one thing that’s still hard to come by outside big cities is the latest in medical technology. Things like elaborate intensive care facilities for newborn babies can be rare even at large hospitals, and in rural villages, just having reliable access to purified water can be a luxury.
Nevertheless, scientists, health care workers, and nonprofit organizations—both in developing nations and in Europe and the U.S.—are continually coming up with new ideas, approaches, tools, techniques, apps, and devices for treating and preventing diseases and illnesses common to places that are less well-off. Here are seven of our favorites:
1. Critical warmth for premature infants
Newborns have a hard time regulating their body temperature, and those born prematurely lack body fat, putting them at increased risk of hypothermia. Traditional incubators aren’t always an option in the developing world because they are costly (around $20,000) and require constant electricity; cheaper options are ineffective or even dangerous.
The Embrace infant warmer is low-tech and portable, keeping premature babies and those with low birth weights warm for up to six hours at a time. (It’s reusable.) Embrace operates 82 programs in more than 11 countries, and it has helped more than 87,000 infants in partnership with local governments and NGOs. The class at Stanford University that came up with the idea projected that each Embrace would cost $25, but after manufacture, it came out closer to $200. That’s still a huge gain in affordability yet an indicator that new ideas in this space don’t always fulfill their early promise.
2. A better way to collect water
According to Matt Damon’s group Water.org, “In just one day, 200 million work hours are consumed by women collecting water for their families.” This cuts into time that could be spent on education, child care, or income-generating activities.
It’s also physically taxing. Enter the Hippo Water Roller, a durable contraption designed by South Africans that cuts down on the time and effort necessary to transport water by allowing it to be rolled rather than carried. Hippo Water Rollers typically last five to seven years, and executive director Grant Gibbs estimates that more than 300,000 people have transported around 1.85 billion gallons of water with the device over the past two decades, spanning a distance of 311 million miles. The cost is $125 to users and $167 to donors.
Read the other 5 here: http://www.one.org/us/2014/10/01/7-genius-hacks-saving-lives-in-the-worlds-poorest-places/#