Global Health

Overview

Around the world, countries are working to strengthen health systems, increase access to quality care, and end preventable deaths. While there has been marked progress in certain regions and for certain health issues, this progress has not been evenly distributed.

Innovations that can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of health systems, while also increasing access for vulnerable populations will be absolutely critical in the push to end preventable deaths in both the US and around the world.

The Challenge

The challenge for this track is to describe an intervention that would alleviate a global health concern, either domestically or internationally. Proposals submitted to this track should (a) demonstrate evidence of a widespread health concern faced by resource-constrained populations, and (b) develop a system, program, or technology that is culturally appropriate within the target communities and designed for low-resource settings.

The challenge for this track is to describe an intervention that would alleviate a global health concern, either domestically or internationally. Proposals submitted to this track should (a) demonstrate evidence of a widespread health concern faced by resource-constrained populations, and (b) develop a system, program, or technology that is culturally appropriate within the target communities and designed for low-resource settings.

Past Winners and Examples

Examples of proposals include (but are not limited to):

  • A medical innovation project that promotes effective diagnosis or treatment
  • A public health containment effort or surveillance technique to address infectious disease epidemics
  • A public health prevention project that raises awareness among at-risk populations
  • An economic, public policy or advocacy-based initiative that aims to reduce barriers to accessing effective health services in underserved communities.
2019 1st Place - ReEMS: Revolutionized Emergency Medical Services
2018 1st Place - Lumenda
2019 1st Place - Cloud-based Emergency Response System
Loo Lab-Award
2018 2nd Place - Loo Lab
2019 3rd Place - Solving the Arsenic Problem in Rural California
2018 3rd Place - Forget Me Not

ReEMS: Revolutionized Emergency Medical Services

Team Members:

Leon Wu, Timothy Lam, A. Sterling Christensen, Ramin Atrian, Zhaoyi Li, Kaung Yang, Kousha Changizi, Andrew Sanchez

School:

UC San Diego

The Red Cross of Tijuana is a nonprofit medical services provider that covers 98% of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) requests in Tijuana, Mexico. They pilot only 17 ambulances to serve a population exceeding 1.8 million people. As a result, these conditions escalate emergency vehicle response times and impair EMS performance during everyday operations. Partnered with the Red Cross of Tijuana, ReEMS (Revolutionized Emergency Medical Services) aims to optimize the delivery and management of emergency services in Tijuana and other underserved communities worldwide by introducing cost-effective smartphone and cloud software. Their platform enables emergency medical personnel to make informed decisions during dispatch by providing them with tools to monitor, visualize, and dispatch EMS vehicles in real time. ReEMS expects to decrease EMS vehicle response durations by over 50%, improving access to and reliability of health care for millions of people in underserved communities.

Lumenda

Team Members:

Julius Mugaga, Sidney Perkins, Solomon Oshabaheebwa, Lizzette Delgadillo, Bryan Louie, Priya Medberry

School:

Makerere University

In developing countries, the cost to diagnose meningitis remains high and therefore many neonates are denied quality healthcare. Approximately 126,000 cases of neonatal bacterial meningitis occur every year in low income countries of which 25–50% develop brain damage and about 40-58% of patients die. The gold standard for diagnosing neonatal bacterial meningitis is a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) culture. Lumenda provides an accurate and rapid method of diagnosing bacterial meningitis in neonates in low-resource settings. It facilitates rapid intervention and avoids wasteful prophylactic administration of antibiotics by analyzing the optical properties of the CSF to rapidly detect bacterial meningitis at each point along this pathophysiology. The rationale behind the device stems from the clinical observation that CSF turns from clear to opaque when infected with bacterial meningitis.

Cloud-based Emergency Response System

Team Members:

Moses Kintu, Jordan Ongwech, Trevor Nagaba

School:

Makerere University

Uganda does not have a dedicated emergency response number despite repeated government attempts to set up an adequate and reliable public ambulance service backed by a toll free phone number for communication. This has resulted in slow emergency response times, additional injury and an altogether diminished chance of survival. The Cloud-based Emergency Response System (CERS) enables real time matching of ambulances to patients allowing for maximum utilization of the limited resources that exist. At the same time, it provides a means to circumvent the problem of insufficient resources to setup and man a dedicated emergency call centre with which the Kampala Capital City Authority has been wrestling for some time. Through a smartphone application, users can request and automatically connect with the closest available ambulance. CERS has the potential to impact 40,000 Ugandans who do not make it to the hospital within the “golden hour” by providing a fast, safe and appropriate transport means.

Loo Lab

Team Members:

Rachel Sklar

School:

UC Berkeley

In rapidly urbanizing areas, small exhauster truck businesses are unable to keep up with the demand for pit latrine emptying services due to inefficiencies in their operations. Thus, when a latrine fills in most low-income urban areas, manual emptiers use buckets to empty the waste and dump it in the environment. This results in high rates of diseases such as cholera and dysentery. Loo Lab enables exhauster trucks to grow their businesses by improving the efficiency and profitability of their daily operations. Loo Lab’s integrated suite of technologies connects truckers to customers, intelligently routes truckers to clusters of customers, and streamlines payments for emptying services. The technology allows individual trucks to save time and money. This makes it possible for exhauster trucks to expand their customer base, empty more low income customers, and prevent waste from being dumped in the environment.

Solving the Arsenic Problem in Rural California

Team Members:

Dana Hernandez, Siva Rama Satyam Bandaru, Lucas Duffy, JP Daniel

School:

UC Berkeley

About 55,000 people in California rely on arsenic contaminated groundwater as their primary source of drinking water. The small water systems serving these disadvantaged communities lack the technical, managerial, and financial capacity to implement a sustainable solution that would provide arsenic-safe drinking water. Thus, there is a need for an affordable, compact, and continuous-flow technology for these communities exposed to arsenic, a potent carcinogen. Air Cathode Assisted Iron Electrocoagulation (ACAIE) effectively removes high arsenic concentrations from synthetic groundwater to levels below EPA’s Maximum Contaminant Level of 10 parts per billion. Conducting a pilot study at a school site will demonstrate the technical efficacy and robustness of ACAIE. In addition, an educational campaign will increase public awareness and knowledge on the arsenic problem in rural California, empowering rural communities that currently lack their human right to safe drinking water.

Forget Me Not

Team Members:

Anika Kumar

School:

UC Berkeley

Social isolation is a prevalent issue known to cause loneliness, depression, and other health ramifications in the growing population of elderly. While some community programs for isolated elders exist, very few are effective or accessible. Forget Me Not is an intergenerational nonprofit organization that tackles this issue by partnering seniors with teen volunteers in weekly companionship phone calls. Seniors simply sign up for the program and are immediately paired with a trained volunteer who calls them every week. The program allows any older adult to participate with the only requirement being access to a telephone, thus eliminating any physical, geographic, or technological constraints. The calls are mutually beneficial and conducive to the formation of lasting meaningful bonds.

SEPT
2020

18

Come get inspired by Big Ideas alumni and their stories of how they transformed their early-stage idea into a successful social venture.