11 December 2008

Necessary Angels ~ Essential Rural Healthworkers

In the latest issue of my favorite magazine, National Geographic, author Tina Rosenberg and photographer Lynn Johnson share the power of Necessary Angels, the rural Indian women who serve as community health workers and the Jamkhed program which orchestrates things. These women help the otherwise helpless and, in the process, move beyond their traditional caste limitations. This is a very nicely-done article weaving together cultural conditions, health challenges, rural issues, organizational concerns, the difficulties of scaling-up and more, all around the gigachallenge of global health delivery.

This is a theme we deeply care about at the Institute. I'm sitting now with my MIT colleague Jose Gomez-Marquez who is running D-Lab Health class in Spring 2008 as part of International Innovations in Health, one of the MIT IDI family of programs. He and his students will be deploying healthcare design kits to empower these local health care workers with appropriate medical technology. That means highly distributed, off-the-grid, simple but effective solutions. And both Rich Fletcher and Victor Grau are running an D-Lab ICT4D class where several of the projects are health + information technology oriented. And another colleague, Anjali Sastry, is spearheading the MIT Sloan G-Lab on African health delivery systems. Lots happening!

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