Anemia is a major — and completely preventable — cause of deaths in childbirth in many places around the world, but the standard test is invasive and slow. In this witty and talk, TED Fellow Myshkin Ingawale describes how (after 32 tries) he and his team created a simple, portable, low-cost device that can test for anemia without breaking the skin.
Is a RM500 device worth the trouble?
At a recent conference I attended, the first plenary was very unusual. It was presented by a Singapore doctor (a GP, not a haematologist) who spent 15 years in rural South China performing social/health/humanitarian work. One of the most striking points is that one of the biggest healthcare problems under appreciated by many is anemia. It is a major cause of morbidity and mortality till this day. Imagine if a regional hospital set up surgery for cleft palate etc only, it to see a large number of ops cancelled for patients (many who have trudged miles to get there) who had un-diagnosed anemia.
Even today, in the relatively prosperous Klang Valley, it is not uncommon to see middle class women with moderately severe iron deficiency anemia.
I believe such a tool will be a boon for primary care health workers (including nurses and MAs in health clinics and mobiles) who can screen for anemia and monitor progress in patients with anemia.
Kudos to Myshkin and his team.