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News & Events | 14 January 2013 | Fighting Malaria Abroad, Declining Domestic Health, Growing Asian Philanthropy, Surveying Impact Investing

January 14, 2013

Lifting the Burden of Malaria with Information and Technology

Nigerian texters to take on the drug counterfeiters: Malaria continues to take the lives of over 650,000 people each year—mostly young children and pregnant women in Africa. While there has been much success in the last decade with increasing access to proven tools like insecticide treated bednets and improved medications (artemisinin combination therapy), counterfeit operations threaten the progress. Recent studies suggest over one-third of malaria medications in affected countries are fake. This BBC report profiles a promising home-grown entrepreneurial solution developed in Ghana—mobile phone verification. Consumers scratch off and text a unique code on the malaria medication to confirm if it’s genuine or fake. Such methods can help ensure families get drugs that will actually prevent death and also prevent substandard medications that could lead to resistance.

Information is key to effective malaria control: Recent article in the Guardian describes the importance of local community level efforts in malaria control. While most donors focus on commodities (e.g., drugs, bednets, etc.), they may have increased impact by also addressing information gaps and behavior change so that malaria tools are accepted and used by families most affected by the disease.

Declining Domestic Health: Report by the Institute of Medicine

U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health: The Institute of Medicine released a new report: U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health that highlights poorer health outcomes for Americans despite high per capita spending on health. Compared to 16 other developed countries, American men ranked last in life expectancy which was mostly driven by deaths in men younger than age 50.

Image Source: Institute of Medicine

Image Source: Institute of Medicine

While there is no single reason cited for this health disadvantage, potential areas to target include increasing access to preventative care especially for low-income populations, addressing obesity and sedentary lifestyles, and improving public health programming toward gun violence, drug use, and car accidents due to alcohol.

Asian Philanthropy in the United States

Asian-Americans Gain Influence in Philanthropy: Philanthropic activity is on the rise among groups such as the Korean American Community Foundation, American India Foundation, Asian American Federation, and the Chinese American Community Foundation. Donations are made to a variety of cultural institutions like universities and museums, as well as to nonprofits, though there is still some skepticism around giving to large philanthropic organizations.

JP Morgan-GIIN Perspectives on ProgressImpact Investing “Perspectives on Progress”

J.P. Morgan and the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) have released their third annual survey which includes experiences from 2012 and expectations for 2013 from 99 respondents in the emerging impact investing market.

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