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Latest Posts

Building A Hospital In Haiti

Partners in Health is building a state-of-the-art teaching medical facility in Mirebalais in Haiti’s underserved Central Plateau.

My niece Annie helped design the waste and water treatment systems of the project as part of her engineering internship with Northeastern University, and will be joining the Partners in Health group upon graduation. It’s so inspiring to see this wonderful project coming to fruition and to know that she’ll be part of it.

You can be part of it, too, by donating, volunteering or, like Annie, working for Partners in Health.

Partners in Health was founded by Dr. Paul Farmer and colleagues in 1987 to serve the poor in Haiti. Dr. Farmer’s story is the subject of Tracy Kidder’s new book “Mountains Beyond Mountains: One Doctor’s Quest to Heal the World.”

[Editor's note: Also see the NPR article "The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer."]

*This blog post was originally published at tbtam*

Can Mobile Phones Improve Health In Developing Countries?

Screen-shot-2010-11-05-at-10.16.57-AM.pngThe potential of mobile phones to improve health is most acutely visible in developing countries. iMedicalApps covered the recent mHealth Summit, where there were many inspiring demonstrations of how voice and simple text messages can have a profound effect on the health of those countries’ citizens. Jhpiego has successfully worked on these problems for three decades and was recently awarded a $100m grant. James Bon Tempo has extensive experience in this field and we are thrilled that he is sharing his insights with the readers of iMedicalApps.

This is a guest post from James BonTempo.

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Mobile Health In Developing Countries

I am a user and an implementer of technology, not an inventor or developer, so my constraints, challenges and requirements are different than those of many attendees of the recent mHealth Summit. And for others like me who work in international aid and development, mobile technology is simply a tool, and one of many in a large toolbox that includes various best practices and proven approaches. At Jhpiego (an affiliate of Johns Hopkins University), we have piloted a number of different mobile interventions — from simple SMS to Java & smartphone-based applications — but the challenge for us is to identify the most appropriate technologies, the tools that will help us to strengthen health systems in limited resource settings most effectively and most efficiently. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*

Obesity: On The Rise In Developing Nations

Emerging economies must act immediately to halt rising obesity rates before the epidemic becomes as severe as it is in first-world countries, according to new report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The OECD report was published in the Lancet. It characterizes the prevalence of obesity in Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Russia and South Africa. Obesity rates were found to vary dramatically across these six countries. In Mexico, a stunning 70 percent of adults were reported to be overweight or obese. Nearly half of all Brazilians, Russians and South Africans fell into these categories. China and India had a lower prevalence of overweight and obesity, but were moving rapidly in the wrong direction, according to the OECD.

Developing nations don’t have enough resources to handle the health consequences of obesity, which include an increased risk of cardiac disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and disability from all causes.

Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Pizaazz*

A New Superbug?

newNYCfashion 300x199 New Superbug AlertScientists have discovered a new, highly-transmissible gene that could, quite easily in fact, open a frightening new front in the ongoing global war against superbugs.

The antibiotic-resistant gene, NDM-1, was first identified in 2008 a Swedish patient that had received hospital care in New Delhi. NDM-1 produces an enzyme that allows bacteria to destroy most antibiotics. It exists on plasmids, which are pieces of genetic material that are easily shared between bacteria including E coli and other species that can cause pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and blood stream infections.

NDM-1 probably evolved in parts of India where poor sanitation and overutilization of antibiotics provide a perfect environment for the creation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The gene has been identified in three U.S. patients. All had received medical treatment in India, and all recovered from their infections. It has been found sporadically in Britain, Australia and nearly a dozen other countries as well. Most affected patients were “medical tourists” — that is, people seeking less expensive medical care in India.

“We need to be vigilant about this,” said Arjun Srinivasan, an epidemiologist at the CDC told the Washington Post. “This should not be a call to panic, but it should be a call to action. There are effective strategies we can take that will prevent the spread of these organisms.” Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Pizaazz*

Bill Gates At mHealth: How Mobile Health Can Improve Healthcare

bill gates.jpg[We reported last week from the mHealth Summit in Washington, DC -- a conference covering the integration of mobile technologies with medical research, information, diagnosis, treatment, and care.]

One of the highlights of last week’s mHealth Summit was the keynote interview of Bill Gates. While inseparable from his history as founder and leader of Microsoft from 1975 to 2008, his current passion is global health.

Through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has now given 3.8 billion (with a “b”) of targeted philanthropy into global health since 1994, he and his wife Melinda are helping bring about profound change to the lives of millions around the world. In a meeting dedicated to exploring the power of mobile devices to shape health in developed and developing countries, Bill Gates eloquently refocussed our attention towards the real urgency of saving the millions of our fellow humans who die needlessly for want of vaccinations or the simplest treatments. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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