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Innovations Fighting Poverty
Many citizens of developing countries struggle with poor living conditions and a low quality of life. They often do not have access to what they need to stay healthy, and are no stranger to the issues of malnourishment, disease and high infant mortality rates. Luckily, people around the world have begun to take notice, developing innovations designed specially to combat these issues. These innovations are being produced and delivered across the globe, saving countless lives. Here are five of the leading innovations fighting poverty.

NIFTY Cup

Some infants are unable to breastfeed due to medical conditions, premature birth or the death of their mother. Unable to get the nourishment they need, these babies are at risk of malnourishment and death. The NIFTY Cup is designed to help infants receive breastmilk without the risk of choking and other complications. The cup is made of soft silicone that holds a small amount of breastmilk, which flows into a small reservoir at the edge, allowing the baby to drink easily. This simple invention is helping to save the lives of children in Malawi and Tanzania, especially premature babies, who are less able to breastfeed safely.

Embrace Warmer

The Embrace Warmer is another among many innovations fighting poverty by treating hypothermia in infants. It is a portable warmer specifically designed for infants, and is much less costly than other warmers and incubators. Many hospitals in developing countries are ill-equipped to save the lives of hypothermic babies due to underfunding and overcrowding. The cost-effective Embrace Warmer, therefore, is just what hospitals and mothers need to keep their children safe and warm. So far, it has reached over 200,000 infants in 20 developing countries.

Jet Injector

Developing countries often have issues with sanitation, and diseases can run rampant. Vaccination is important to keep the population of a developing nation safe, but ensuring the cleanliness of the needles can prove to be a challenge. The Jet Injector reduces the risk of using improperly sterilized needles by using “a high-pressure, narrow stream of fluid to penetrate the skin.” It offers the same protection as a vaccine given through a traditional needle while reducing the risk of infections due to improper sterilization.

Lucky Iron Fish

Iron is an essential nutrient especially important to pregnant women and infants. Unfortunately, it is easy to develop a deficiency, particularly in developing countries. Lack of a sufficient amount of iron can lead to the development of anemia, a condition in which one’s body weakens from the inability to get enough oxygen. The Lucky Iron Fish is an easy-to-use supplement that combats this issue, and it is much more affordable and long-lasting than typical iron pills. When left in water or other liquid-based meals, it releases iron that enriches the food. One fish costs less than $50 and can be reused for up to five years.

Life Saving Dot

Iodine is another important nutrient commonly found in seafood and vegetables. It can be a challenge for those in developing countries to obtain iodine if they do not have access to either of these food groups. Iodine deficiencies are especially widespread in India, where the soil is notoriously iodine-poor and many citizens are vegetarians. The Life Saving Dot, another among many innovations fighting poverty, fuses culture and innovation to solve this problem. While a bindi is a traditional dot Hindu women wear on their foreheads, the Life Saving Dot is a bindi adhesive with added iodine that absorbs into the skin, providing wearers with the dose of nutrients they need. It is extremely affordable, simple to make and easily incorporated into these women’s lifestyles.

These innovations fighting poverty are saving lives and keeping people healthy in developing countries, showing just how powerful technology can be in the fight against poverty. Through current and future innovations, conditions will hopefully continue to improve for the impoverished.

Alison Ding
Photo: Needpix

5 Brilliant Inventions Helping Fight Global PovertySome of the world’s greatest inventors are not those who build flying cars or the latest smartphones; they are those who use their inventions to help people in need. Across the globe, people live without access to clean water, food and sanitation. Inventors have recognized these dire situations and have put their talents to the test in the ultimate fight against poverty. Through trial and error, determination and compassion for others, innovators have used their abilities to design brilliant inventions helping fight global poverty.

The Shoe That Grows

Across the globe, children in poverty-stricken conditions fall victim to illness and disease. Over 1.5 billion people suffer from diseases transmitted from the soil. Bare feet, believe it or not, can kill. The majority of children living in poverty do not have shoes. Those that have been fortunate enough to receive donated pairs eventually grow out of them and walk around with no protection at all. The Shoe That Grows addresses this problem head-on.

Through a unique design of adjustable notches and snaps, the shoe continues to grow with the child. In total, the shoe can expand up to five different sizes. A five-year-old child using The Shoe That Grows will typically be able to wear the same shoe until they turn nine years old. This solution to bare feet prevents the soil-transmitted disease from wreaking havoc and averts injuries to the feet.

Life Saving Dot

Thousands of women in rural India suffer from iodine deficiency, a problem caused by a lack of iodine in the human body. Iodine deficiency in women can lead to breast cancer, disease and complications with pregnancies. India’s primarily vegetarian diet and poor levels of iodine in the soil has led to high levels of iodine deficiency, primarily in women. The Life Saving Dot helps restore iodine balance in the human body to prevent disease.

Made to mimic an Indian bindi, women wear the Life Saving Dot between their eyebrows. The device supplies the wearer with a sufficient amount of iodine each day. It is fairly inexpensive to buy, only costing around 10 rupees for a pack of 30 dots.

Mazzi

Impoverished families across the globe depend on milk, not only for nutritional support but also for income. The transportation of milk, however, is tricky and can lead to spills, spoilage and contamination. Mazzi allows for easier and cleaner transportation of milk.

Through a durable, 10-liter plastic container, people transport milk from the farm to the family or to the market. The container has a wide mouth that allows for a large collection of milk. The container itself is spill-proof and keeps the milk fresh as it is transported from one place to another. It is also easy to clean, reusable and cost-efficient.

Eco-Cooler

Summers in Bangladesh can be unbearably hot, often leading to higher rates of heat strokes and dehydration. Residents of Bangladesh live in houses with roofs that enhance the temperature of the sun, sometimes reaching up to 45 degrees Celsius, or 113 degrees Fahrenheit, inside of their homes. Air conditioning is, unfortunately, not a luxury that Bangladesh residents have. To combat the extreme temperatures in an environmentally conscious way, Eco-Cooler was born.

Developed as a low-cost cooling system, the Eco-Cooler is made entirely out of recycled plastic bottles that draw cool air into homes. Plastic bottles cut in half are placed onto a board, which is then placed on the wall, acting like a window. The bottles compress hot air, cool it down, and drastically decrease the inside temperatures, sometimes by as much as 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Embrace Warmer

According to Embrace Global, more than 1 million infants die every year on the day of their birth and 98 percent of those deaths occur in impoverished countries. The main cause of those deaths? Hypothermia. Infants in developing countries are more susceptible to hypothermia as a result of premature and low-weight births. Embrace Warmer is a unique invention intended to combat the increasing numbers of infant mortality in developing countries.

The Embrace Warmer acts like an infant sleeping bag. It helps regulate a newborn baby’s body temperature during the first few days of their life. The warmer keeps the child warm, does not depend on electricity, is cost-effective, portable and above all, safe. The Embrace Warmer has helped save the lives of 200,000 hypothermic infants in developing countries.

 

These five inventions helping fight global poverty prove that innovation has the power to help those in need. It is through these unique and brilliant inventions that progress is attained.

 – Jacey Reece
Photo: Flickr

health technologies for developing countriesIn recent years, there have been numerous innovations in medicine and new health technologies for developing countries. These technologies target a large variety of issues including medical testing, identifying safe drinking water, filtering dirty water and decreasing infant and maternal mortality rates. Some innovations that have had a significant impact on global health and show potential for future interventions include Hemafuse, Embrace Warmers, 3D printing in medicine and SMS services to identify counterfeit medicine in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Hemafuse

The Hemafuse is a recent example of new health technologies for developing countries. Autotransfusion is a medical procedure that recycles a patient’s blood back into their system. This practice can be extremely useful when there is no donor or matching blood type in injuries with large volumes of blood loss or internal bleedings. Blood transfusions are necessary for many medical situations. A significant number of maternal deaths in developing countries result from blood loss. Medics in Sub-Saharan Africa often use an extremely unsanitary technique of blood transfusion that involves a kitchen soup ladle because of the lack of alternatives. Before being reinfused into the patient’s system, the blood is filtered using gauze.

Sisu Global Health developed the Hemafuse for women with ruptured ectopic pregnancies to prevent life-threatening internal bleeding. The handheld device recovers blood from internal bleeds, filters out clots and impurities and reinfuses it the patient. Sisu Global Health is hoping to expand its design and impact 14 million lives. The device is easy to use and has the potential to decrease maternal mortality rates in developing countries. This is because it is sterile and does not require donor blood.

Embrace Warmers

The Embrace warmer is one of the health technologies for developing countries created to help newborns. The warmers were designed as portable incubators and warmers for newborns who are born premature or are lacking body fat. Lack of electricity and heating in hospitals can lead to complications such as neonatal hypothermia for newborns in developing countries. Jane Chen designed Embrace warmers at Stanford University and the device costs less than 1% of what regular incubators cost. More than 300,000 newborns in 22 countries benefitted from Embrace warmers. Organizations around the world have recognized this innovation, as well as influential people including Beyoncé and Barack Obama.

3D Printing for Developing Countries 

3D printing technology has resulted in huge advances in medicine. Specifically, 3D printing as a form of health technology for developing countries can help improve access to medical supplies. Developing prosthetics, setting up field hospitals and creating medical devices are all ways in which 3D printing can improve healthcare in developing countries.

Around the world, 80% of individuals who need prosthetics don’t have access to them. The e-NABLING the Future project is a network of volunteers who bring affordable 3D printing designs for hands and arms to those in need. There are many people in the developing world who have lost fingers or hands to war, natural disasters or disease. Through the 3D printing of prosthetics, these individuals have the opportunity to regain the use of their hands and fingers.

Doctors Without Borders has been looking into how 3D printing could be used for field hospital setups. Additionally, 3D printing allows for medical supplies to be produced directly in developing countries instead of being imported. This process can help spark medical development in poor areas instead of relying on products from other countries. Medical supplies produced by 3D printers include water testing kits that test for bacteria to determine if the water is safe for drinking and lab-in-a-box kits that are solar-powered and test for various diseases.

SMS Texting for Fake Drugs

Another increasingly pressing health issue is counterfeit medicine in sub-Saharan Africa. It is difficult to know exactly how many counterfeit drugs are circulating because the market is underground. However, there have been many counterfeit drug seizures in recent years. One out of every 10 medical drugs in all developing countries, and therefore most of Africa, is counterfeit or not standardized according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO also estimates that counterfeit medicine causes 116,000 deaths annually in Sub-Saharan Africa, costing $38.5 million every year.

While there needs to be structural reform to address the issue, a company founded in 2009 by Bright Simons from Ghana has developed a text messaging system so that users can verify whether the drugs they have are legitimate. The company has since grown and has helped more than 100 million individuals. Users must scan the drug’s barcode with their phone camera or text a code from the drug’s label to a hotline for verification.

Many exciting health technologies for developing countries have been introduced in recent years. These innovations can be extremely effective and have the potential to tackle global health issues, but proper access remains an issue. Simply developing these technologies does not ensure that underserved communities have access to them. Some of the most common issues regarding access are affordability, low supply and low production. This is due to the underestimation of the demand for products in developing countries. Developing access plans that take into account all of the social, economic and cultural barriers to access is crucial to ensure that these innovations can make an impact on global health in developing countries.

Maia Cullen
Photo: Flickr

Products Tackling Global Poverty
People who live in poverty-stricken communities typically do not have access to simple products that can be the difference between life and death. Below are five products tackling global poverty.

5 Products Tackling Global Poverty

  1. The Shoe That Grows: The Shoe That Grows produces a shoe for kids living in poverty. It expands up to five sizes and lasts for years. Kenton Lee founded the shoe after he traveled to Nairobi, Kenya. He lived and worked with kids at a small orphanage and noticed that many of the children either had broken, worn shoes or none at all. He came up with the idea of a shoe that expands to prevent soil-transmitted diseases and parasites that can cause children to miss out on their education and even death. As of now, the company has distributed over 200,000 pairs of shoes to 100 different countries. The organization sent 30,000 of those to Ethiopia alone.
  2. NIFTY Cup: The NIFTY Cup is a device that some use to feed premature babies in Malawi and Tanzania who are unable to breastfeed. Unlike the metal cups and spoons that people in poverty-stricken countries often use, the NIFTY Cup contains durable, soft silicone that one can shape to allow all nutrients to reach babies’ mouths without causing them to cough or choke. The cup serves as a life-saving resource for mothers who do not have the necessary medical assistance necessary to keep premature babies healthy. Donors have made it possible to send over 6,000 NIFTY Cups to hospitals in Malawi and Tanzania.
  3. The Lucky Iron Fish: The Lucky Iron Fish is a tool used to fight iron deficiency in developing countries. Families place the iron fish in boiling water before cooking to add proper nutrients to meals. One of these iron fish is equivalent to five years of iron pill bottles. The Lucky Iron Fish company works on a one-to-one donation scale. This means that when people in developed countries buy one of the fish, the company donates another to a family in a developing country. As of 2018, the company impacted 54,000 lives because of the buy-one-give-one system. The impact fund has distributed the fish to Nicaragua, Tanzania, Cambodia, Haiti, Benin and more.
  4. Embrace Warmer: Embrace Warmer is a life-saving tool that developing countries use. In these places, newborn babies often suffer hypothermia due to being premature and low weight. The tool is essentially a sleeping bag that helps regulate the body temperature of newborn babies during their first few days of life. Embrace Warmer began as a class project at Stanford, when students had to design a cost-effective product to help battle neonatal hypothermia. Eventually, the product expanded to rural India and has now helped 200,000 infants in developing countries.
  5. Flo: Flo is a reusable menstrual hygiene kit that Mariko Higaki Iwai designed to provide a solution for women and girls in developing countries to take care of their bodies. The kit allows girls to wash, dry and carry reusable sanitary pads. This kit makes it easier for girls to stay in school, prevent reproductive diseases and illnesses and take care of their menstrual cycle in privacy. Flo is still a prototype but people working in the field in developing countries have been trying to make Flo available for their communities. The team is currently seeking manufacturers to make this possible.

These life-saving products are working at tackling global poverty, while also giving those who live in poverty-stricken communities a better chance at having a healthy lifestyle.

Juliette Lopez
Photo: Flickr