GHIC 2019: Global Health & Innovation Conference
April 13-14, 2019
Yale University, New Haven, CT

Unite For Sight's 2011 Global Health & Innovation Conference

Blog Report by Dennis Wang

Health Technology Social Enterprise Pitches - Ideas in Development

Rice 360º: Beyond Traditional Borders Initiative

Three researchers from Rice University were a particularly powerful presence during the session, and their ideas deserve a collective mention not because they were thematic, but because of the uniqueness of their organization, Rice 360º: Beyond Traditional Borders Initiative.  They tackled issues in global health that were non-obvious, having been brought to them by their field contacts from around the world.  In addressing big problems with small, simple solutions, they showed that effective global health interventions were possible through extensive networking with researchers and manufacturers, and through a commitment to the aims of public health.

Garrett Spiegel, the first of the three presenters, presented a plastic syringe clip, the DoseRight, designed to facilitate proper dosing of liquid medications, an elegant and particularly applicable solution to the problem of how to encourage proper drug delivery in areas with low literacy rates and short supplies of medicines which are then seldom used correctly.  In particular, he considered the example of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV, which can be prevented if the liquid medication prescribed to pregnant HIV-positive women were accurately dosed.  The clip, when inserted, ensures that the plunger of a typical BD syringe can only be pushed down to dispense the desired volume.  It is already being mass-produced, is in the process of attaining a patent, and is being distributed to target populations in Africa.

The Sally Centrifuge, presented by Lila Kerr, was a modified salad spinner which was being engineered to provide for the diagnosis of anemia in the absence of expensive medical machinery or electricity.  Although the results they found were somewhat inconsistent with the performances of specialty-built centrifuges, Kerr’s team developed a chart to account for the difference and make useful the results that were achieved with the “low-cost centrifuge,” showing not only great inventiveness, but also that researchers at any level of development or education could make real contributions to the field of global health.

Other Initiatives

Many of the other projects remained in various stages of development, including a bacterial biosensor which might one day be able to test for the presence of pathogens in food, and an improved gynecological examination chair which might one day improve both maternal and child health.  For now, though, these projects remain on the drawing board.

Take away points: