MethodLogical is now at methodlogical.wordpress.com
MethodLogical is now at methodlogical.wordpress.com
Due to some persistent technical issues we've been having with Blogger, we're now posting at methodlogical.wordpress.com. Please update your RSS feeds, etc. For the time being, our new posts will automatically be mirrored here, but you'll have to visit the new site to comment.
Monday, January 31, 2011
- Marginal Revolution has an awesome graph of income inequality across and within countries. It's somewhat confusing at first but read Tabarrok's explanation below. The take-home message: the poorest 5% of Americans are among the richest 30% of all people in the world. This is pertinent to my debate with Andrew over the relevance of inequality - I'm still not sure inequality matters per se but it's clearly incredibly motivating; the world is simply not fair and that is not okay.
- The NYT on the failure of Google.Org to change the world of philanthropy. The article highlights what I see as two factors that make non-profit work so hard: the lack of a simple metric for success (private firms can just look at profitability) and the bitter conflicts that arise because employees actually care passionately about what they're doing instead of working for a paycheck.
Friday, January 28, 2011
“ …We are also workers. We are hired to create and apply knowledge within the constraints set by our employers. But we are a special kind of worker in that our labor is not completely alienated from us: we are really concerned with the product of our labor, with what it does in the world, unlike the employees in an ammunitions factory who do not seek out that job for the joy of helping to kill people. As workers, a major concern is to keep our jobs and receive reasonable compensation and benefits. But as intellectuals we want our work to be meaningful and effective. We are terribly frustrated when we lack the resources to do what obviously needs to be done, when class size or number of patients to care for guarantees that we cannot do what we entered the profession to do and when our best ideas are not fundable or not even mentionable, when our activism is condemned as unprofessional, when our tasks are constrained by wrong or narrow theories, when we may contribute to deep studies of the problem but the reports end in banal recommendations such as ‘we should pay more attention to questions of equity’ or the almost inevitable ‘more research is needed.’”
Thursday, January 27, 2011
1. LifeStraw. Designed by Swiss company Vestergaard Frandsen, LifeStraw makes dirty water clean. It is a 25 cm long, 29 mm diameter plastic straw that contains of point-of-use water filter in its base. The manufacturers have priced it at US$2. LifeStraw removes 99.999% of waterborne bacteria, 99.99% of viruses, and 99.9% of parasites. It can be used for approximately 1 year (700 liters) before the filter must be replaced. As a result of killing disease-causing microorganisms, it can prevent diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid, and cholera. LifeStraw is a for-profit product, for sale both directly to consumers but also many non-profits have worked with LifeStraw to purchase and distribute it in humanitarian crises (most recently the 2010 Haitian earthquake and the 2010 Pakistan floods).
2. Banana Leaf Sanitary Pads. Elizabeth Scharpf, founder and CEO of Sustainable Health Enterprises (S.H.E.), is working to address a major underlying cause of female absenteeism in school and in the workplace: mensutruation. The alarmingly high rates of absenteeism in schools and in the workplace that resulted from women reluctant to come during their menstrual periods is a reality in many developing countries. The #1 reason? Sanitary pads are too expensive. In order to create a more affordable option, S.H.E. now works with local Rwandan women to manufacture and distribute affordable, quality, and eco-friendly sanitary pads made from banana tree fibers. Since 2009, S.H.E has also trained 5,000 Rwandan women to set up their own sanitary napkin micro-enterprises. Scharpf has become part of the movement that Nicholas Kristof calls the D.I.Y. Foreign Aid Revolution.
3. ClickDiagnostics. One of several companies competing in the telemedicine space, ClickDiagnostics is a software program that allows for community health workers to use a hand-held interface to do a quick differential diagnosis and send photographs to remote physicians. ClickDiagnostics has experimented with several interfaces/platforms for the software, ranging from smartphone apps to more basic flip phone mobile technology. The for-profit company sells their technology to Ministries of Health, NGOs (including BRAC), universities, and hospitals for use in Bangladesh, Botswana, Kenya, Uganda, and Ghana. If anyone knows more about the telemedicine market, I'd love to learn more about how ClickDiagnostics measures up to its competitors. Maybe the MD's out there can also shed some light on the scale-ability (or lack of scale-ability) of telemedicine.
Community Health Worker Using ClickDiagnostics Mobile App
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
|Is she doing her part to aid her countrymen?|
Firstly, we must ask if they are fully able to address their own needs. China has the money to spend a ton on its military, but if redirected, would it be enough to radically help the hundreds of millions of poor people inside its borders? If so, is it still the responsibility of developed nations to step in if a middle-income country is using its wealth irresponsibly? But what about Botswana, which spends quite a bit less on its military, but is still groaning under the weight of its HIV epidemic and widespread unemployment?
Monday, January 24, 2011
Friday, January 21, 2011
|Did you know you could get malaria even if you're on prophylaxis?|
Don't worry- he's recovering nicely, so please enjoy this article.
Please note, exposing our contributors to lethal pathogens will NOT become a regular feature on MethodLogical.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
2011 is going to be a turning point for making non-communicable diseases (NCDs) prevention/control a priority on the global agenda. The UN Summit on Non-Communicable Diseases will take place on September 19-20th, 2011 in New York, and will bring together UN Member States along with representation from the civil society to hammer out a global plan to respond to the growing threat of NCDs.
(More references: This recent review article summarizes the elements needed for a context-specific national NCD policy. The Lancet also had a series in November 2010 regarding NCD intervention strategies.)
To help the cause: The NCD Alliance has put together a summary on how to get involved. There’s also a dynamic web-based group of young professionals focused on chronic disease issues.