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AlertNet Features 20 Low-Cost Ideas That Could Improve Health, Reduce Poverty

AlertNet posed health, technology, water and other experts questions, such as, “[w]hat cheap, low-tech innovations could be used to improve the lives of the poor? Which potentially life-saving ideas have been knocking around for years but still aren’t widely practised?”

The news service compiled their answers into a list of “20 big ideas that don’t cost the earth.” Some of the ideas that made the list include a “patient-friendly” combination pill to treat tuberculosis; regular handwashing, which is “one of the cheapest and most effective ways to prevent the infections that cause diarrhoea”; the use of mobile phones to promote health care; and dry toilets, which can be used in developing countries “to save water and improve sanitation.”

Other ideas detailed ways of improving maternal and child health like the promotion of breastfeeding; using a birth mat that helps health care providers measure blood loss and better treat postpartum hemorrhaging, one of the biggest causes of maternal death; and keeping babies warm with a low-cost incubator called Embrace and the “Kangaroo method,” where mothers keep premature babies wrapped to their chest (1/7).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.