Health care is one of the basic requirements for any human society. Proper health and medical care, appropriate use of vaccination techniques to prevent diseases, and knowledge of other hygienic and safety procedures that help protect humans against disability, disease and death; should definitely be amongst the topmost priorities of any nation.
Pathetic health care situation in the 3rd world nations:
This should be the common criteria for every nation of the world; be it completely developed, developing or still underdeveloped and grouped under the mortifying tag of 3rd world nations. But sadly enough; this is not the situation that greets us in the actual and practical world.
Leave alone advanced technologies and innovations; even simple and rudimentary health care facilities like timely availability of medical attention or presence of a basic primary health care unit etc are being denied to the unfortunate members belonging to many 3rd world nations.
What has changed in the past decade?
But things seem to be improving a tad bit for the better, in the past decade. Yet, the most pathetic fact remains that any medical or health care technology if at all being applied in 3rd world nations, costs more than an arm and a leg for the government and thus tends to end up eating dust on the back of the shelves.
So this post is aimed at describing some of the technologies or innovations that work fine for these so called 3rd world nations, and do not cost much and hence are both applicable for practical use and affordable too.
1) Birth mat:
Proper antenatal and postnatal care is considered one of the most basic amongst the health care facilities for humans, because it deals with the beginning of a new life of the coming generation and also because it is the situation that involves almost each and every household across the globe. Inadequate or deficient antenatal and postnatal care could cost the lives of both the mother and baby.
WHO states that Post partum hemorrhage (PPH) accounts for as much as 25% of maternal deaths all over the globe; and the most crucial fact about it is the timely diagnosis. The birth mat is an innovation that is being touted as the most effective and low cost technology to diagnose this post natal bleeding, and thus provides a timely opportunity for doctors to save the life of the mother.
This mat needs no complex arrangement and simply needs to be placed under the woman who has delivered the baby. This mat will not only give timely indication when the bleeding has reached critical and life threatening levels, but also can be weighed periodically to accurately assess the exact amounts of blood being lost
2) Paper to Diagnose Liver Damage:
This innovation in health care definitely takes the cake. Who would have imagined that a small square bit of paper could tell everything about the damage caused to the Liver by strong medications, like those being administered for HIV and TB? Invented by Professor George Whitesides from Harvard University, this paper is as small as a postage stamp and costs not more than a few cents.
The medications used to treat HIV and TB could have serious side effects like hepato-toxicity and finally lead to damage of the Liver. Many of the 3rd world nations do not have any Liver Function Tests that can detect this in a timely manner. Use of this cheap tool is very easy as all it takes is a drop of body fluid and the color change on the paper will instantly verify the occurrence of Liver damage.
3) Vinegar as armor to fight against Cancer?
It is a well known fact that cancer, especially cancer of cervix can be treated if detected early. Despite this fact, not many of the 3rd world nations actually have effective methods to diagnose the onset of cervical cancer.
A simple method called Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid (VIAA) has been proposed as the cheapest method to diagnose even the early signs of cervical cancer. All it takes is a cotton swab moistened with vinegar (the main constituent of which is Acetic acid) a flashlight and a halogen lamp.
As soon as the vinegar makes contact with any damaged (pre-cancerous or cancerous) cervical tissue, it instantly turns white and thus confirms the diagnosis. The entire cost of this procedure is lesser than $1.60 which makes it highly affordable, practically usable and an effective method to diagnose precancerous or cancerous conditions of the cervix in 3rd world nations.