Tag Archives: international development

Doctors, Researchers – Tear Down this Paywall: Paving a new road to research-based action in global development

Last month, the world received some encouraging news: Liberia was declared Ebola-free. After a 14-month battle with the virus that claimed nearly 5,000 Liberian lives and brought the country to its knees, the World Health Organization announced that the devastating epidemic was over (Guinea and Sierra Leone, however, are still experiencing new cases).

As Liberia recovered from the outbreak and began the long, uphill process of rebuilding its health system for other ongoing and future health challenges, some of its leaders reflected on what could have been done to prevent the Ebola outbreak. In a New York Times editorial written about a month before the epidemic’s conclusion, Bernice Dahn, Vera Mussah and Cameron Nutt discuss a troubling reality: that European researchers knew about latent Ebola antibodies in Liberian blood samples as long as 30 years ago, positioning Liberia in the Ebola endemic zone. Yet, like many studies conducted by Western researchers, the findings sat atop the proverbial ivory tower, out of reach of the Liberian doctors and policymakers who could have acted to prevent the eventual outbreak.

This disconnect between development research and the communities it studies is an all-too-common trend in an international development community that hosts a Healthcare in Africa Summit in London and discusses poverty reduction strategies fresh off private jets.

Full article on Next Billion 

NexThought Monday – Warby Parker Blurring Lines Between ‘Social’ and ‘Business’: Glasses firm takes BOGO model to new heights

Last month, determined to keep up with the latest trend in hipster eyewear, I purchased my first pair of Warby Parker glasses. Warby was all the buzz among vision-impaired colleagues and friends, boasting styles and prices that were uniquely embraced on both sides of the East River -– a rare feat for a New York City population known for making a mainstream trend out of resisting mainstream trends. And, of course, there’s its social mission: A “buy one, give one” model that has become a major selling point for companies trying to reach more socially conscious consumers.

But Warby’s success hinges on more than its product and mission, demonstrating a new and very simple kind of “corporate social responsibility” that companies can no longer afford to take lightly.

Full article on Next Billion 

‘Sustainability’ Remains the Holy Grail: But the road to achieving it is paved with divergent visions

There are few, if any, keywords that receive as much airtime in global health and development as “sustainability”* (save for perhaps the dreaded I’s of “innovation” and “impact”). Fourteen letters long, it has at least as many connotations, as elusive to articulate as it is to achieve. Yet it remains the holy grail of all global development programs. It is the lighthouse that guides social entrepreneurships, the posts adjoining global health field goals, the fountain of youth empowerment. In (slightly) less figurative terms, it is the heart of the post-2015 development agenda, pumping blood into redefined interventions and targets that seek to end poverty and disease.

Two weeks ago, global health leaders gathered in Johannesburg, South Africa, for the Partners’ Forum to shape the post-2015 agenda for maternal and child health. And, naturally, sustainability reared its mystical head. On the surface, it would appear that the roughly 1,200 participants from NGOs, UN agencies, governments, companies and universities reached an important consensus: Sustainability is and will remain a chief element of all efforts to end preventable maternal and child mortality. But just below the surface lay a truth even more profound: Sustainability manifests differently for just about everyone.

Full article on Next Billion 

Ziqitza ambulances make money while serving India’s poor

In the ever-evolving landscape of global business, it is not uncommon to conflate traditional business with social business – particularly when it comes to health.

How does, say, a pharmaceutical company that makes billions in profit by selling health products differ from a small enterprise that improves the health of a surrounding community and manages to stay financially solvent?

It is a nuanced distinction, but an important one. And it is one that Sweta Mangal, CEO of Ziqitza Health Care Limited – a leading social enterprise in India – recently made clear to me.

Full article on Christian Science Monitor