University Teams tap Social Networks to Fight Disease

New solutions developed by university teams could soon be harnessed to help manage the growing global problem of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as asthma, diabetes, stroke and cancer.

A social-media enabled support system for pregnant women with gestational diabetes and advanced smart-phone service could have tremendous impact as cost-effective tools to help manage diabetes and other diseases. These winning innovations and others were part of the NCD Challenge, sponsored by IBM and Novartis. The global competition was designed to bring together industry and academia to create innovative, easy-to-use solutions that fight the human and social burden of NCDs.

According to the World Health Organization, nearly two-thirds of all deaths occur due to non-communicable diseases which contribute to more than 60 percent of deaths worldwide. Over the coming decade, some 388 million people worldwide will die of one or more chronic illnesses and the cumulative losses in global economic output due to NCDs will total $47 trillion by 2030. Modest investments to prevent and treat NCDs could save tens of millions of lives and bring major economic returns.

Winners of the competition are Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, and ESADE Business School-Universidad Ramon Llull in Barcelona, Spain. These winning solutions for two categories, developing nations and developed nations, help address the problem.

“The NCD Challenge illustrates the type of ingenuity, motivation and accessibility that will help control the growing epidemic of NCDs in many parts of the world,” said Katherine Holland, general manager, global life sciences, IBM. “Innovation such as this is key to a global strategy to improve care and build a more sustainable healthcare system.”


Source: CSR Africa.Net – 13 Feb 2012