The whole of 2019 saw a fierce and intense debate globally around the adoption of environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles as a way of doing business. The year gave the world in general and India, in particular, some compelling reasons to improve their ESG standards. For example, July 2019 was declared to be the hottest month on record for the planet, and a report in April indicated that air pollution alone kills 1.2 million people in India throughout the year.
- South Asia
What Needs to Change in the Indian Medical Devices Ecosystem for Innovators, Entrepreneurs and Patients
In India, imported products account for 80% of medical device sales, and most were developed for middle and high-income countries – far from India’s unique challenges of accessibility and affordability. In recent years, thousands of startups and innovators have emerged to build more affordable public health products. But Dhruv Pandey at Social Alpha writes that government and financing challenges will stop these innovators in their tracks unless entrepreneurs can find alternate paths.
A Closer Look at The World’s Largest Unaddressed Disability: Leveraging Inclusive Business to Eradicate Poor Vision
Uncorrected poor vision affects some 2.5 billion people, costing the global economy $227 billion a year in lost productivity. Yet though 90% of these people live in developing countries, the problem ranks low on the global development agenda – even though it can often be fixed by a simple pair of glasses. Jayanth Bhuvaraghan at Essilor explores the issue, and discusses an innovative solution: the Eye Mitra program, which trains youth in emerging countries to become micro-entrepreneurs, providing primary vision care and selling low-cost eyeglasses in their communities.
Finding the Right Financial Partner: Lessons Learned from One Startup’s Success in the Funding World
Kinnos was founded during the Ebola outbreak of 2014, marketing an innovative chemical product that allows even untrained workers to apply disinfectant correctly. Its founders (then students at Columbia University) quickly received more than $750,000 in grants and prizes. But as their company grew, they had to learn to navigate the risky landscape of startup investment. According to Christina Tamer at VentureWell, the Kinnos team's success in this area—they have raised $1 million in venture funding from angel investors—offers a number of key lessons for other entrepreneurs.
Roughly 25 percent of the global population needs glasses, but lacks access. The problem isn't cost: Affordable glasses are readily available in emerging markets. What's lacking are trained eye care specialists. The social startup PlenOptika is tackling that issue with a device called the QuickSee: a binocular-sized autorefractor that non-specialists can use to scan a patient’s eyes and produce an eyeglass prescription within seconds. Paul Scott, director of engineering for ASME, discusses the innovation, and the challenges and rewards of running a social hardware startup.
Nine Ways to Make Money in mHealth: The Top Value Propositions from a Study of 234 Projects in Emerging Markets
Telemedicine and mHealth initiatives often struggle in emerging markets - yet researchers seldom focus on how these ventures can better develop sustainable business models. An ambitious study of 234 mHealth projects in developing countries attempts to rectify this problem. Khanjan Mehta at Lehigh University runs down the research, highlighting the nine most common value propositions it found.
Technologies such as mobile phones, tablets, remote patient monitoring devices, and sensors have the potential to save lives, extend the reach of healthcare services, and reduce healthcare costs – yet many countries face persistent challenges in integrating these technologies into their health systems at scale.
At least half the world is without access to what the World Health Organisation deems essential, including antenatal care, insecticide-treated bednets, screening for cervical cancer and vaccinations against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough. Safe, basic surgery is out of reach for 5bn people.
- Health Care