An outbreak of Lassa Fever in Nigeria since the beginning of 2018 reminds us that surveillance and preparedness are of paramount importance in the fight against infectious diseases, especially viral hemorrhagic fevers.
THE GLOBAL BURDEN OF DISEASES
Interesting representation of public health data from Gapminder: while the global burden of disease can be attributed for 61% to non-communicable diseases, focusing on people living in extreme poverty reveals that for them more than 50% of this burden can be attributed to infectious diseases.
TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION FOR SMARTPPE
The development of an innovative ventilation system started this month between EPFL (LAI and CODEV/EssentialTech units) as an academic partner and the companies Sonceboz and SF Tech as industrial partners. This partnership will deliver a radically miniaturized ventilation system, able to withstand chlorine disinfection and to provide caregivers with several hours of autonomy with their patients.
SMARTPPE PRESENTED AT MSF SCIENTIFIC DAYS
The design prototype of the SmartPPE project was presented at the 2017 MSF Scientific Days by Dr. Esther Sterk, responsible for the tropical medicine, epidemics and neglected diseases section at MSF Switzerland. Watch her interview here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7V0HqDy9FcI
An interesting article was published in the Harvard Business Review about the global preparedness against future pandemics. Although quite alarming, the article suggests four lines of actions, amoung which strenghtening the local health systems in developing countries:
"International actors are essential but cannot parachute into countries and navigate local dynamics quickly enough to contain outbreaks. In Guinea it took months to establish the ground game needed to stop the pandemic, with Ebola continuing to spread in the meantime. We need to help developing countries establish health systems that can provide routine care and, when needed, coordinate with international responders to contain new outbreaks."
This is exactly what the SmartPPE project is about: providing local healthcare workers with appropriate equipment to fight such threats.
A STEP BACK TO ANALYZE THE RESPONSE
Very interesting, yet very critic, article about the international and national responses to the Ebola outbreak.
FIRST SMARTPPE DESIGN PROTOTYPE
A prototype of our protective suit was presented for the first time in public last week at the Geneva Health Forum. Its main features - reusability, ventilation and integration into a single-piece garment - appealed to both lay and expert visitors; the event was also relayed in the news. The prototype will also be shown next week at the Technologies for Development conference at EPFL.