OVER 2 million children die every year of vaccine preventable DISEASES
BY 2015 cell towers are expected to provide coverage to 98% of the world's POPULATION
CELL towers provide the energy and the infrastructure needed to solve this challenging PROBLEM
PROVIDING the energy needed for the refrigeration of viable VACCINES
" Rerouting Power. Reshaping Health"
Energize The Chain (ETC) is a service company providing technology solutions for
optimizing the vaccine cold chain in developing countries. According to studies over the last
decade, 25-40% of vaccines spoil in transit before they reach patient communities in rural areas.
ETC negotiates public-private partnerships with governments, global health bodies (UNICEF,
WHO), and major telecom companies to fortify cold chain operations using private sector
infrastructure. Its core operation model involves connecting vaccine refrigerators to the power
supply of cell phone towers to guarantee energy stability in remote areas.
One of Morse's next calls was to another friend, this one a star in the field of medicine. Harvey Rubin, an infectious-disease doctor at the University of Pennsylvania, does research on tuberculosis and the mathematical modeling of complex biological systems. His vast professional and personal network has made him a kind of human power grid. If anyone could figure out a way to deal with the mess in Haiti, Morse figured Rubin was the one. But Rubin had bad news.
Leaders and innovators in global health met yesterday (April 8th 2014) at the United Nations to provide guidance about partnerships as the UN considers the next iteration of the Millennium Development Goals. This particular meeting was a side event, sponsored by the Institute for Strategic Threat Analysis and Response, to the UN Economic and Social Council’s two-day meetings on the role of partnerships.
Here’s a shocking statistic: 2.5 million children under the age of five continue to die each year from vaccine-preventable diseases. Vaccines are available, but lack of infrastructure often prevents them from reaching the remote and impoverished communities that need them most.
A new initiative pioneered by the non-profit organization Energize the Chain could hold the key to reducing this number dramatically and preventing needless deaths. The idea: use electricity from mobile phone masts to run vaccine refrigerators at sites in remote areas. ASAP spoke to the director of Energize the Chain, Dr Harvey Rubin of the University of Pennsylvania.
The Google Alumni Programs team hosted 14 hackers and 3 nonprofit organizations (Energize the Chain, WellDone, and GreatNonprofits) at the first ever Hack4Good event in Mountain View on September 14-15, 2012.
The event supported the efforts of current and former Googlers actively involved in nonprofits by creating technical solutions that will further their impact. The technical solutions will be used to keep vaccines cold in India, provide data about water wells built in Africa, and promote greater feedback and transparency for donors/volunteers across thousands of nonprofits! One organization rep told the hackers, “You definitely saved lives this weekend."
On August 20, 2012, Philadelphia Business Journal and program partner, Pennsylvania Bio, unanimously selected Energize the Chain to receive the Philadelphia Business Journal 2012 Life Sciences award for Best Innovation from a Research Institute. See the official announcement here.
Infectious disease specialist, Harvey Rubin, of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and Alice Conant, then a student at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California, suggested using surplus power from cellphone towers to run the refrigerators needed to keep perishable vaccines cool. Their idea is now being tried out at 10 church-run hospitals across Zimbabwe, with the backing of Econet Wireless, a cellphone provider based in Johannesburg, South Africa.
"Harvey Rubin, a professor at Penn's medical school, also was struck by a chance idea that could help the developing world.
It started when actor David Morse, a friend of Rubin's, e-mailed him this year to ask about the problems in getting medical care to people in earthquake-ravaged Haiti. Among other issues, Rubin explained how vaccines had to be kept cold to remain effective."