Pasha Fund Blog

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Indus Hospital: Tracking Pneumonia with RFID

The Interactive Research & Development (IRD) Indus Hospital, in collaboration with Johns Hopkins Blookberg School of Public Health”s Department of International Health, has been using RFID technology to measure the incidence of pneumonia in infants in Karachi Pakistan in order to track how often infants contract penumonia due to Pneumococcal disease.

In the initial test run 4000 infants were given a waterproof RFID bracelet encoded with a unique ID number that is linked to the baby”s medical history. When the infant is brought into a healhcare facility, the doctor scans the bracelet with a mobile phone to see if the infant in fact requires pneumonia testing or treatment. If he/she does then an SMS alert is sent out and a team whizzes in to take care of it.

Dozens of healthcare facilities in the city are connected to the IRD so that the infant does not have to be taken to a particular facility to be monitored or treated.

Of course the sharing of medical data in itself opens up questions regarding the privacy of the child”s health data so there need to be rules which safeguard and restrict access to only those who absolutely require it.

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This is an example of how mobile and RFID technology can be used to track and treat diseases.


What is Social Innovation?

Social Innovation is a term that is not easy to define. Very simply put, it is an innovative idea, process or product that provides benefit to a segment of society or to society as a whole – especially to downtrodden, deprived and victimized individuals such as those suffering from poverty, physical disability, lack of empowerment, lack of access to health, communication, employment and business opportunities, literacy, citizen services, etc.

Anything that can be done to alleviate this deprivation and do public good can be termed as social innovation.

So for example microfinance was  a form of social innovation that provided access to capital and to financial services for those who did not benefit from the conventional banking and financial system.  This new form of financial access allowed them to start micro-enterprises hence providing them an escape from the depths of poverty.

Similarly access to market information would allow people in small towns and villages to reduce or eliminate the role of the middle man who does not get them a fair price for the products they grow or create. Access to health and education services is another area that is a constant battle that can be tackled using simple technological innovation. Add to this access to citizen services which would make people”s lives easier and would add an element of efficiency resulting in increased productivity.

Technology can  be the enabler for a lot of these every day problems. It can also assist in cases of disasters and emergencies. What is needed are simple and creative ideas that can facilitate the use of technology to provide the solutions that are needed.

And that is what this Fund is meant to do. Spot a problem in your city, town or village. Think of how the use of technology can alleviate the problem for the community. Submit the idea, show how it will work and show how you will keep it sustainable once the initial seed money has run out. The best ideas will receive a grant, and will be provided guidance on how to take the idea forward.

Do you have such an idea? Is it unique? Is it innovative? Are you capable of taking the idea forward? All you need is money and advice? Then fill in the Application Form now and we will get back to you first week of September to let you know if yours is one of the ideas that has been selected.


What is a Social Entrepreneur?

How can mobile technology assist agricultural growth?

Agriculture contributes more than 60% foreign exchange to Pakistan”s economy. It is also the sector that is responsible for the livelihoods of 62% of Pakistan”s population who live in rural areas.

However many small farmers lack access to context specific, localized, timely and actionable information required for taking appropriate action to avoid crop failure.

DFID funded a study, carried out by CABI, to see how emerging mobile applications can help the agriculture sector.

The study investigated the opportunity presented by the mobile phone market and telecom infrastructure to overcome the problems faced by agriculture extension. The findings and recommendations of the research were very interesting indeed and are presented in this video.

Some of these recommendations could result in great social impact.


Mobile technology to combat counterfeit medicine

The counterfeit drug market worldwide is a grave threat to public health because the medicines sold are sub-standard resulting in a lot of deaths.

Through an investment from Acumen  Fund, Sproxil is combating the global counterfeit drug market through a Mobile Product Authentication™ (MPA™) solution that enables consumers to verify the authenticity of pharmaceutical products.

Sproxil’s MPA solution allows customers to send a free text message containing a code found on a drug to Sproxil’s servers, which immediately respond and indicate whether the drug is genuine or fake. Sproxil has set up Africa’s first national mobile-based anti-counterfeit service in Nigeria, and Acumen Fund’s investment will enable the spielautomaten online company to expand into Kenya and India.

It is a simple solution. Customers get a scratch card with a one-time user code. To verify a product, they send the code via SMS to a 911 for fake drugs number. Sproxil either sends a response authenticating the drug or sends a hotline number for customers to call and report the drug if it is found to be fake.

The complete case study of this project is available here.


How cell phones are creating opportunities for development

Iqbal Quadir, Director of the Legatum Centre at MIT, in this interview with Toronto TV, talks about the opportunities that have been created in developing countries because of access to communications. He refers to cell phones as a social technology because of the many benefits it brings to low income groups – in terms of education, communication, networking, mobile banking and business.

The Ushahidi Platform – for mapping disasters & acts of violence

“Ushahidi”, which means “testimony” or “witness” in Swahili, was initially developed to map reports of violence in Kenya after elections in early 2008. Since then, the name “Ushahidi” has come to represent the people behind the “Ushahidi Platform”.

The original platform was used to map incidents of violence and peace efforts throughout the country based on reports submitted via the web and mobile phones by around 45,000 users in Kenya.

Subsequent to the Kenya violence the founders of Ushahidi realized that a platform like this could be used by people from around the world.

And it has indeed been used by others including during the earthquake and flood relief effort in Pakistan. The tools have been used for democratizing information, increasing transparency and lowering the barriers for individuals to share their stories.

It comprises of Free Open Source software which is downloadable from the website and is released under the GNU Lesser General Public License. )LGPL)

The Ushahidi platform provides the ability to visualize information through Interactive Mapping tools. It also allows you to track your reports on the map and over time. You can filter your data by time and then see when things happened and where, as it”s also tied to the map. It allows you to easily collect information via text messages, email, twitter and web-forms. A perfect way to crowdsource information and share it so that duplication of efforts and supplies does not take place and emergency efforts are made much more efficient.

This platform has been used by many organizations including PakRelief for incident reporting during the floods and Harassmap to map incidents of violence against women in Egypt

What is the Ushahidi Platform? from Ushahidi on Vimeo.


What is Social Innovation?


What is Social Innovation?

Social Innovation can be defined in many ways but generally it means developing new concepts and strategies that can solve social problems. This could include extending education to areas where it isn’t available or finding new and innovative ways to educate. It could include creating access to health online blackjack tricks for those who don”t have it. It could also include new processes for monitoring and improving crop development. It could perhaps solve a social problem like ending violence or empowering women. process for improving access to communication and/or to knowledge. It could be ways of improving job opponew and


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