måndag 16 mars 2015

Together we can do it!

- Seminar "Innovation for Impact - New Approaches for to Global Health Challenges

This morning, Swecare and the Health Initiative Group arranged a seminar on innovative approaches to solving global health issues and the challenges faced in scaling these solutions up, with more that 100 participants. For the benefit of our English-speaking guests, this blog post will be in English.

The morning started with an inspiring key note speech by ActionAid country manager for Senegal, Dellaphine Rauch-Houekpon - setting the scene, and the tone for the rest of the seminar. Dellaphine taught us some Wolof (let me get back to you on the exact Spelling of those Words), with the following translations: "We are together" and "we are moving", inspiring us to chart the direction we move in, to move together including local stakeholders and to all be role models.

Dellaphine Rauch-Houekpon, ActionAid Senegal

The key note speech was followed by presentations of Swedish solutions and innovations relating to the MDGs in health and the coming SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). First on the floor was Tobias Alfvén, from Karolinska Institutet, on how to reach the last billion. Many of the main causes for mortality in children under 5 years old are easily preventable, had there been a health worker around to consult. Researchers from KI and Makerere University, Uganda, have focused on the impact of training community health workers and of private drug shop owners, and have shown good results in tackling pneumonia, malaria and diarrhea.

Shifo Foundation has developed a system for registration and follow-up of immunization of children, also giving real-time reliable data for improved decision making. Binette Seck told us that the system is now installed in 48 clinics in Uganda, with more that 16 000 children registered and 4500 children immunized so far.

Binette Seck, Shifo Foundation

Cervical cancer is on the rise, and mortality is the highest in Africa. The key is diagnosis by a colposcope, after initial screening. Elisabeth Wikström Shemer, inventor of the first truly portable colposcope, the Gynocular, explained how this can be done, even in remote areas without access to electricity. By attaching a mobile phone, the Gynocular also gives input to clinical records and telemedicine consultations.

Next we listened to Petra Wadström, talking about the impact of clean water on health, disease prevention, productivity and the environment. The Solvatten solution, using solar energy to clean the water, gives safe and warm water, and can thus contribute to less disease, fewer sick days, and a reduction in CO2 emissions and deforestation.

Petra Wadström, Solvatten
Also important for living a healthy life is access to proper sanitation, which many inhabitants in the growing urban slums in many developing countries are deprived of. Martina Nee from Peepoople, explained how using the Peepoo, a single use, portable toilet, can contribute to sanitation, and create value, not waste, by converting it to fertilizer. A challenge faced by Peepoople is that the innovation touch various sectors, such as agriculture, health, rights to sanitation, women empowerment and education, meaning that they have to interact with many different donor covering these various sectors. This becomes a problem when every funder has their own reporting systems etc.

Martina Nee, Peepoople

75 % of all new diseases are zoonotic, that is originating from animals. Sleeping sickness is one such disease, which is lethal to human and cattle alike. IKARE executive director Anne Holm Rannaleet showed us a short movie and told us about their project to stamp out sleeping sickness through using "vetrepreneurs".

The last solution was presented by Lena Wahlhed: the Hemocue system will give laboratory quality for Point-of-care testing of e.g. HB and white blood cell Count. Lena pointed out the importance of working together and to have a holistic view of health, the family, schools, food security etc in order to combat e.g. anemia.

Lena Wahlhed, Hemocue

After intensive discussions during the tea break, Stefan Einhorn, author and philanthropist, told us that should give to others for our fellow humans, to be a good role model - also for coming generations - and because we enjoy it! His presentation was followed by Anne Holm Rannaleet's overview of the spectrum of funds, from grants focusing on impact only by creating social value, via revenue generating social enterprises, working mainly for impact, to traditional business at the other end, looking to create financial value.

Stefan Einhorn, author and philanthropist

The seminar finished by a panel discussion by representatives of the three views on funding, namely Nina Strandberg from Sida, Ruth Brännvall of Impact Invest and Jonas Ahlén, Storebrand Asset Management. It was quite interesting to listen to their views and how their organizations can contribute to innovative financing. Ruth stressed the importance of putting investors together, making it easier and less risky to them to invest in social innovations, Nina the need for innovators and donors like Sida exchanging views and ideas and Jonas told us of the need to influence the financial market to move more towards looking more at the social value of investments. Finally, Rustam Nabiev of Shifo and Omar Badji from ActionAid Gambia gave us the practioners' view, talking about prevention and how to invest in that, in the need of a holistic view on health, the importance of data and of the investors sharing the same goals and vision and not only putting in the Money but also valuable advice for developing business models, and scaling up.

Nina Strandberg, Sida, Jonas Ahlén, Storebrand, Ruth Brännval, ImpactInvest, and today's moderator Johan Åkerblom

The theme of the morning was clearly working together, and this was discussed further during the networking lunch that followed our constructive and inspiring seminar.

Intensive networking

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