Notes from “Bridging the Digital Divide: Smart Tools for Addressing Health Pandemics in Emerging Economies”

A conference at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, April 7-8, 2006

Michael Free, PATH

  • Prevention -> Detection -> Treatment

  • Focuses on Prevention

  • Vaccines are slow to grow -> Thermostable vaccines

  • Vaccines are limited -> New ways of delivering vaccines that are more efficient

  • Detection slow -> Point-of-care tests

  • Today, action often depends on the threat a disease poses to the developed world…

Aimee Gauthier, ITDP (transport policy for africa for health group)

  • Transport is a bottleneck of health care

  • Focus on HIV/AIDS but better transport is common solution to many diseases

  • Repair/Maintenance toughest/$$ part of supplying cars

  • Bicycles appropriate up to distances of ~20k

  • “California Bike Coalition” bikes are used

  • Plus non-motorized ambulances (e.g. bike trailers)

  • “DOTS” program–people visit patients to make sure they’re taking their meds

  • Hospital ~50k away from average patient

  • Regional post ~23k

  • Pharmacy ~5k

  • Bicycles could bridge gaps between these levels

Prabhu Kandachar, Design Engineering, Delft University

  • “Distant diagnostics” – Delft student project, patients can transmit their sugar level 400mi to hospital for advice

  • “Infoproduct for pregnant women” – for illiterate women to self-diagnose and medicate

  • “Oral cancer screener” – portable laser screener for mouth/throat cancer (caused by lots of tobacco chewing in starvation-prone areas)

  • “Tele-diagnosis system” – Udupi district, south India; patient meets with local nurse, who takes pictures of wounds and sends to specialists: “teledermatology”.

  • needs standard documentation format

  • specialists got annoyed because they no longer had direct patient contact; tough to stay motivated

Joanne Dunaway (UC Berkeley)

  • “Pandemic” doesn’t mean “infectious” or “contagious”–just “widespread”

  • 2.7% of global illness is due to indoor smoke from fires -> 1.6M deaths per year

  • Smoke-free or smoke-limiting cooking stoves to address this problem