PING team in Botswana
The Global Adaptation Institute (GAIN) honored four organizations leading adaptation efforts on the ground in its inaugural awarding of the GAIN Prize. Engineers Without Borders-USA, Austin Chapter; MEDA; Positive Innovation for the Next Generation (PING); and Ushahidi received the 2012 GAIN Prize.
The GAIN Prizes are given to recognize those organizations and entrepreneurs that are working on innovative projects and successfully tested technologies that will help the most vulnerable adapt to the changing global climate, GAIN’s founding mission. These Prizes, which were awarded at the GAIN Annual Reception May 9, honor the shoulder-to-shoulder work with communities through a monetary award and recognition to promote continued development of innovative adaptation solutions.
As one of the first recipients of the inaugural GAIN Prize, PING plans to expand its Disease Surveillance and Mapping Project to cover all 17 diseases, beyond malaria, that require notification in Botswana. When compounded with the functionality of smartphone use, mobile data networks capabilities allow PING representatives to instantaneously transmit and map disease outbreaks. With this technology, the opportunities to adapt to disease outbreaks in Botswana should continue to improve.
By using PING’s technology platform, the Ministry of Health is able to better allocate scarce resources and may actually speed up the final process of malaria eradication. By using the funds from the GAIN Prize, PING is optimistic about improving the response time for outbreaks of the other diseases and, in so doing, work towards eradicating those diseases as well. These diseases include the neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), rabies and tuberculosis to name a few.
Figure 1: Reported Malaria in and around Kasane, Botswana
Additionally, PING hopes to improve the time it takes for data to reach meaningful decision makers and also the time it takes for specialist care to reach people who need it. In the future, PING hopes to being working with the Ministry of Health to utilize the smartphones to collect photos and brief case reports for electronic referral to population centers.
PING’s goals are centered in the overall improvement of Botswana’s health readiness, as life expectancy numbers are currently not growing rapidly enough and the number of health workers per capita remains low. By working to decrease response times to communicable disease outbreaks, life expectancy will improve. By decreasing the cost to provide services as well as improving the efficiency of health workers, the shortage of health workers will be mitigated and PING will have aided Botswana in moving from the Blue Quadrant of the Readiness Matrix to the Green Quadrant, indicating a state of reduced vulnerability.
Botswana’s profile in the GAIN Index: