Weekly News Roundup: Taking control of health in resource poor settings; there's an app for that

Program News:

How can health care providers accurately and efficiently collect patient’s medical records? How can providers encourage low-income patients to take control over their own medical records? There are questions Jacaranda Health addresses in their latest blog “You Spin Me Right Round, Like a (Medical) Record, Baby,” as the organization explores the process and lessons learned during the redesign of their medical records. 

After walking hours on foot for her fourth antenatal check up, 19-year-old Moti Kala was diagnosed with placenta previa in far western Nepal’s Bayalpata Hospital. The hospital is run by Nyaya Health, in partnership with Nepal’s Ministry of Health and, until recently, would have referred Moti to a different facility hours away because of her complication. Thanks to some exciting progress at Bayalpata Hospital, Nyaya Health was able to perform its first ever c-section on site

Some of Seattle’s most influential members of the global health community, including Harvard’s Dr. Paul Farmer, founder of Partners in Health and Seattle physicians Sachita Shah, Kris Sherwood and Joseph Alsberge, are joining forces with Burundi’s Village Health Works, providing their expertise in global health, technology, women's health, development and agriculture. Dr. Sachita Shah, a doctor at the University of Washington’s Harborview Emergency Center says, “I’ve worked with several nongovernmental organizations over the years, and one of the most striking and unique things about VHW is how invested the Kigutu community is in making it successful.” Read more here.


On December 9, from 3-4pm ET, Niamani Mutima of Africa Grantmakers and Cynthia Muller of Arabella will co-host the webinar “Understanding the Opportunity for Impact Investing in Africa.” 

Oxfam and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine are inviting proposals for conference papers on the role of the for-profit private sector to deliver Universal Health Coverage in low and middle-income countries. Abstracts should be submitted, in English, by December 13. Learn more about the call for proposals here.

The Regional AIDS Training Network (RATN) and the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Research (IHPMR) are pleased to announce a call for applications for participation in the 2013/2014 CHMI Development Program. We aim to help innovators scale up their programs through capacity building and connections with policy makers and potential funders. Learn more about the event here. 


A new brief from the SHOPS Project pinpoints factors that facilitate and hinder the expansion of health insurance coverage and presents recommendations for policymakers and insurance companies in Sub-Saharan Africa. Read the policy brief, "Expanding private health insurance coverage of HIV treatments and prevention: examples from Sub-Saharan Africa."

The newly launched Global Health Innovation Technology Fund seeks to expedite the development of novel medical technologies and drugs to diagnose, prevent, and treat high-prevalence infectious diseases worldwide. Products discovered by this Fund will be subject to royalty-free licenses in countries categorized as “low-income” by the World Bank. Read more about the fund here.

With rapid growth in Latin America and Africa, the global mobile health market is slated to become a $58.8 billion dollar industry by 2020. A new report by Allied Market Research found that with communicable diseases on the rise in many developing countries, there is increased demand for mobile medical devices, especially in developing countries with double burdens of chronic and infectious disease. 

General News:

The CNN Hero of the Year Award features 10 people making health care more accessible to people in need; two of which are outside of the US. George Bwelle, a doctor in Cameroon, started ASCOVIME, a non-profit that travels every weekend to the country’s poorest and most hard-to-reach areas to deliver medical care. Laura Stachel is using a solar energy kit that provides both light and electricity for medical equipment in Africa, Asia and Central America through her non-profit WE CARE Solar. Read more about it here.

Major mobile companies in Africa know what their customers want: simple, no-frills phone technology. As part of Microinsurance Network's "Challenges and Topics," Theirry van Batalaer discusses how private health insurers committed to finding affordable coverage options are serving these same audiences and applying lessons to their own business models. Read more here.

With chronic illnesses on the rise and an increasing trend toward self-management for these diseases, how can the current model of medical ethics be applied to ensure safe management of illness? Paula Boddington of Oxford University comments on this topic in Future Health Systems’s final blog on new technologies for the self-management of illness.

The spread of mobile technology has been revolutionary in delivering better health care globally, especially in remote areas. Women mobile users, however, are not as likely to benefit from the technology boom; more women than men lack access to mobile phones. “Increasing women’s use of mobile technology can have a broader impact on the economy as a whole by opening access to information, resources for banking and basic services like health care,” says advocate Cherie Blair, speaking at the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative. Read more about why mobile providers should be working to close the gender gap on mobile technology here.

R4D Program Officer April Williamson blogs about her trip to Zimbabwe and working with the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, the Zimbabwe Ministry of Health and Child Care and its partner to find a feasible and financially sustainable approach towards the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. 

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