The TED Fellows program is designed to bring together young world-changers and trailblazers who have shown unusual accomplishment and exceptional courage. The program targets individuals from the Asia/Pacific region, Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Middle East, though anyone from anywhere in the world, age 18 and over, is welcome to apply. This is the description of the TED Fellows program on the web site.
Today there were two sessions featuring TED Fellows and what a remarkable and diverse group they were.
My favourite talk was by Myshkin Ingawale, an exuberant young man, who is the founder of a medical device company, BioSense.
The first product of BioSense is ToucHB, which does cheap, on-the-spot prick-free blood testing for anemia.
As with so many who tell their stories on the TED stage, Myshkin was motivated to develop this device after a visit to a village in India with a doctor friend. A woman and infant had just died due to hemorrhaging after childbirth because of the mother's anemia. Yet anemia is so easy to diagnose, and so cheap to treat. But not easy to diagnose in an Indian village far from the nearest healthcare clinic to have the $10,000 machine that could do the diagnosis.
Myshkin's device looks very much like the device that might go over your finger in a western hospital to monitor the oxygen level in your blood. It works by analyzing three wavelengths of light passing through the tissues. ToucHB measures the oxygen level, but adds the crucial data about anemia.
Myshkin ended with a map of the incidence of deaths from anemia after childbirth in the world today, with hot spots in parts of Asia and South America. He has the modest goal of wiping all those hot spots off the map through his device, which brings healthcare to the people, instead of people having to go long distances to a clinic.An inspiring young man.
Both the developed and the developing world have major healthcare problems, although they are very different. Through my study of the power of disruptive innovation, and my work on a hospital board, I am convinced that the only way to solve these healthcare problems is to put the right tools for diagnosis and treatment into the hands of less skilled people, and ultimately each of us individually. Myshkin's on the right path.