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ENKI Institute at The Royal Society of Medicine

Source: Facebook.com/RoyalSocietyofMedicine

“Thinking with design for global health” was a meeting organised by the Royal Society of Medicine Global Health Programme this Wednesday (5 December 2018). ENKI Institute attended to find out more about how to contribute to creative problem solving in global health by means of design.

Hint: It is all human centred.

Various representatives in the health care sector as well as lecturers and executives joined this event to illustrate the connection between ethnography and design thinking from global health case studies. One case study stuck with us in particular.

Mr Simon Berry is an accidental, award-winning innovator, designer and social entrepreneur. He is also the visionary behind the social enterprise ColaLife that is helping to reform the supply of Diarrhoea treatments in Zambia.

Simon, who worked in the voluntary, private and public sector, also in Zambia, started off by identifying the main issue there to be Diarrhoea as the main killer for young children. 40% of children in sub-Saharan Africa are stunted, which leads to permanent development issues when they grow older. Most children there would never be able to reach their full physical and mental potential because of a permanent lack of nutrients.

The treatment for Diarrhoea, however, is relatively simple: Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) and Zinc. Two substances that are relatively easy and cheap to manufacture. However, the problem is: Not everyone gets it. What Simon noticed throughout his journey is that, in every shop and supermarket, people could buy Coca Cola, but not access very basic health treatments. The innovative idea here: Put the treatments in between the Coca Cola bottles within the box and benefit from Coca Cola’s value chain. Hence, the name ColaLife.

After negotiations with Coca Cola, this was also implemented as the first step to provide aid. Coca Cola, even though it raised strong criticism for a health enterprise to work with them, offered an invaluable pull system support.

The next step then was the product itself and its design – another problematic issue. People had issues using the current available products there, since they were too large, required a bottle of water to mix it with and all within a clean space. In addition, the average way people needed to walk in order to get the products were about 7 km.

The new product that Simon and his team designed after extensive research was the Diarrhoea treatment kit – Kit Yamoyo. This kit was designed to provide a ready made bottle that was easy to use, to measure, took very little space, and was accessible in every shop.

By now, it has become a self-sustaining system that is available in shops and supermarkets all over Zambia. The creators themselves did not have any commercial interest but relied on donor funding.

This product also won the design price of the year and is permanently exhibited in the Victoria&Albert Museum and The Design Museum.

The bottom line of this event could be summed up with saying again: It is not about you – it is about the people. The people decide whether they can afford, use and integrate the product into their lives. Especially in the health care sector where there are substantial regulations applying, it is crucial to distinguish between what experts say is right, and what we know that people want. However, our current health care system is strongly based on expert opinions and gives space for entrepreneurial intervention.

ENKI Institute intends to be part of a positive change in this sector and provide high quality sourced goods.


Event page: https://www.rsm.ac.uk/events/events-listing/2018-2019/groups/global-health/ghm01-thinking-with-design-for-global-health.aspx

ColaLife: https://www.colalife.org/about/

Image Reference: https://www.facebook.com/events/1939981226082608/

Information gathered on the event on Wednesday, Dec 5, 2018

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