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Grenada Poverty RateGrenada prime minister Keith Mitchell said that the greatest challenge he faced was bringing down the Grenada poverty rate. This is with good reason. Although the government has implemented many developmental programs, Grenada remains poor. However, with the right determination and effort, Grenada may have hope.

Currently, the Grenada poverty rate stands at 32 percent. The country also has the highest extreme poverty rate in the eastern Caribbean, with a rate of 13 percent. It has one of the highest unemployment rates in the Caribbean as well. About 15 percent of people are out of work in Grenada.

The economic situation in Grenada is fragile. Agriculture and tourism are very important economically. Approximately 90 percent of the farms in Grenada are less than 2 hectares. This has caused the Grenada economy to fluctuate over the past couple of years. For example, in 2008 the economy grew by 2 percent, only to shrink by 8 percent in 2009.

In response to lower agricultural production, the Grenada government has implemented the Cocoa Revitalization Program. The goal of this program is to commercialize over 1,000 acres of land. The government is also planning on launching the Climate-Smart Agriculture and Rural Enterprise Programme in 2018. The goal of the program is to increase agricultural productivity through better information about climate change. The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) also implemented the Grenada Rural Enterprise Project to combat Grenada’s rural problems.

The government also has several economic development programs underway. The government received $10.8 million from the IMF under the Emergency Assistance Program, which they invested into the Bridges and Roads Investment Project.

If the Grenada government continues to be dedicated to ending poverty, the Grenada poverty rate will go down. As Prime Minister Mitchell said, “The future is promising but challenging. However, together with the CDB and our non-borrowing members, we are assured that we can achieve the future we want for the people.”

Bruce Edwin Ayres Truax

Photo: Flickr

DEBUT challenge

Every year the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) hosts a challenge for teams of undergraduate students to create cost-effective solutions to clinical needs that have yet to be met.

The winning design of the 2015 DEBUT challenge was the Viral Diagnostic Technology designed by a group of students from Lehigh University. This device was designed to help meet the World Health Organization’s recommendation that everyone diagnosed with HIV take a yearly viral load test to monitor the effectiveness of treatment. The viral load test is important in diagnosing and monitoring HIV.

The design addresses the issue of the lack of HIV treatment monitoring devices in impoverished areas where the majority of HIV-infected patients live, specifically in sub-Saharan Africa. The technology used allows for a simpler, faster and more affordable option of the viral load test with results coming out within the hour.

This design comes at a critical time as 35 million people in the world are living with HIV. Seventy-one percent of those are living in sub-Saharan Africa.

One of the runner-ups of the challenge was the FreePulse. The FreePulse was designed by a group of undergraduate students from the University of Texas at Austin. The patient monitor was decided upon when the team realized the unbalanced ratio of patient monitors to patient beds.

Thus, FreePulse was created. It is a low-cost patient monitor designed with the developing world in mind. It is durable, simple, and more affordable than conventional patient monitors. The average patient monitor costs between $1,000-$10,000. FreePulse has an estimated manufacturing price of $72, making it much more affordable for small hospitals in impoverished countries.

The NIBIB’s DEBUT Challenge is just one example of how biomedical technology has advanced society’s ability to improve global health and make it affordable. Global health is one step closer to reality through the advanced technology of biomedical engineering.

Iona Brannon

Sources: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, NIH 1, NIH 2

Photo: Wikipedia

Fast4Hunger
World Hunger Day is May 28th, and to raise awareness, Africare, a non-profit organization working to improve the lives of people in Africa, is advocating the #Fast4Hunger One Day Challenge. It encourages people to fast for a few hours or a whole day to get a better sense of how hungry and starving people in Africa live every day.

The challenge takes place through social media, where participants can use Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to share their experiences while fasting with the hashtags #Fast4Hunger or #Fast4HungerChallenge. Those who want to take the #Fast4Hunger pledge can visit Africare’s website and download the #Fast4Hunger Challenge Toolkit to get everything they need to raise awareness about world hunger on World Hunger Day. Africare will also be hosting a Twitter chat between donors, partners, and the general public on May 28th from noon to 3pm to further advocate and raise awareness about people who need help, especially those in developing countries in Africa.

Kendra Davenport, Africare’s Chief Development and Communications Officer, explains that the hunger experienced by hundreds of millions around the world is a problem that most of the global population remains largely disconnected from. “#Fast4Hunger is an opportunity for people to begin understanding the severity of global hunger, viscerally and intellectually, and to learn how they can become part of its solution,” said Davenport.

Katie Brockman
Source: Wall Street Journal
Photo: Africare

Challenge: Live Below the Line for 5 daysCould you live on $1.50 a day?  This is the question Live Below the Line asks of participants.  Live Below the Line is an innovative awareness and fundraising campaign that is seeking to change the realities of extreme poverty.  1.4 billion people worldwide currently survive on less than $2 per day.  Causes like Live Below the Line are working hard to change that number by raising awareness, funds, and encouraging individuals to take the challenge.

Individuals are challenged to feed themselves for five days on $1.50 per day to stand in solidarity with those around the world who live in extreme poverty.   The number of $1.50 was chosen because it is the current equivalent to define those living in extreme poverty as set by the World Bank.  And while some argue $1.50 goes farther in developing countries, that number also includes those living in extreme poverty in developed nations such as the US.  For those in extreme poverty, $1.50 goes towards more than just-food. It funds housing, health, education, food, transport, and all other household expenses.

Live Below the Line partners with several organizations fighting global poverty on the ground and encourages participants who take the challenge to raise funds for one of those organizations during the 5-day experience.  It is an initiative out of the Global Poverty Project which educates and activates citizens to become engaged in the movement to end extreme poverty.

The 2013 challenge runs from April 29th to May 3rd.  Individuals are allowed a total of $7.50 to feed themselves for five days. Groups can get together to purchase food for the week, but they must ensure their daily meals still only equal $1.50.  To find out more, check out the website Live Below the Line.

– Amanda Kloeppel

Source: Live Below the Line