What should we learn from Zika?

The 2016 Zika outbreak in the Americas was a public health emergency of international concern. Alongside traditional approaches, several digital technologies were used to tackle this rapidly spreading global health threat. A recent review, identified several domains of digital technologies which were utilised during the Zika outbreak, such as computational modelling , big data , mobile health , and other novel technologies [1].

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Spinal implant helps paraplegics walk again

This week’s blogpost focuses on the development of a rather remarkable piece of homegrown innovation. Stories of restoring a paraplegic’s ability to walk was something previously confined to the pages of ancient divine texts, yet scientists from EPFL based at Campus Biotech in Geneva have managed to achieve the seemingly miraculous. Their success has been a combination of brilliant scientific minds, innovative technology and dedication to a common goal, which has led to this breakthrough.

Their cutting-edge spinal implant acts as a kind of electrical bridge, implanted over the damaged tissue of a patient’s spinal cord, receiving stimuli above the injury and transcribing them below it. The procedure has successfully restored lower motor function in a number of patients who had lost the ability to walk. Beyond the considerable improvement in the quality of life and mental wellbeing of individual patients, such curative technological advancements have huge potential for insuring a healthy and mobile population with far-reaching socio-economic benefits.

 

Written by Danny Sheath

Advocating for an expanded mandate of the Global Fund

Founded in 2002, the Global Fund is partnership organisation designed to accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as pandemics.  Through continued work with governments, civil society and the private sector, the Global Fund strengthens local health systems and improves communities, by raising money to invest in prevention, treatment and care services [1].

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AccessMod 5

“Supporting Universal Health Coverage by modelling physical accessibility to health care”

AccessMod 5.0 is a World Health Organisation (WHO) tool, a free and open-source standalone software to model how physically accessible existing health services are to the target population, to estimate the part of the target population that would not receive care despite being physically accessible due to shortage of capacity in these services (human or equipment), to measure referral times and distances between health facilities, and to identify where to place new health facilities to increase population coverage through the scaling up analysis [1].

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